According to a damning confidential memo by Dr. Solomon Ungashe, one of the founders of the Oromo Media Network, circulating on Oromo online forums, Jawar Mohammed raised over $300,000 during the Oromo First campaign which was supposed to go to the coffers of OMN. Dr. Solomon Ungashe alleges that because Jawar and his wife Arfase Gamade were not willing to transfer the money only $20,000 was transferred to OMN from Jawar’s account. Apparently, one of the problems causing division in OMN is the issue of this money that melted away in Jawar and Arfase’s pockets. Jawar insisted that all the money raised during the Oromo First campaign was not raised for OMN but for himself. The memo reveals that OMN’s main problems are tied with the corrupt, dictatorial and manipulative tendencies of Jawar Mohammed.
“Once money was generated from Oromo communities, Arfase and I were assigned to see to it that the money was transferred to OMN account. This proved very difficult and OMN problem started at this point. Unbeknownst to us, Jawar Mohammed had created a parallel committee called Principal Coordinating Committee, PCC for short. Jawar and his wife Arfase were members of this committee. Mohammed Ademo asked Jawar what the role of the PCC was. He assured us its role is simply to collect the fund and transfer it to OMN. That proved to be false. Week after week and month after month Arfasse and Jawar who were supposed to talk to PCC members and transfer the money to OMN kept giving one reason after another for failing to do so. Out of more than $300,000 collected by Oromo community only $20,000 was transferred to OMN account. We were very frustrated,” Solomon wrote. Read full text of memo below.
1. In mid 2012, I convinced myself it was time to start a sustainable Oromo media. I reached at that conclusion because I observed that a handful of Internet radio programs and a few TV broadcasts had started in the Diaspora. This hinted to me there was sufficient manpower and expertise to establish a strong media. I discussed the proposal with some people including Abraham Mosisa, Israe’l Soboqaa, and Abdi Fixee; they all encouraged me to push the idea forward.
2. I next contacted Jawar Mohammed and Mohammed Ademo separately. Jawar was unhappy that I shared the idea with Mohammed Ademo but I did not understand the reason at the time.
3. Soon after that OMN core committee of nine members was established.
The members were: 1) Jawar Mohammed, 2) Arfase Gamada, 3)Girma Tadesse, 4) Micah Cirri, 5) Abdi Fiixee, 6) Ayyaantuu Tibeesso, 7) Mohammed Ademo, 8) Tigist Geme, and 9) Solomon Ungashe. Of these 9 members Ayyantuu Tibeesso was unable to take and we did not fill her place. We conducted once or twice weekly teleconferences to move the project forward.
4. In late 2012, I went to Oromia and one of my responsibilities was to establish OMN on the ground there. I was tasked to recruit journalists who will work for us as reporters either on a permanent basis or as part time freelancers. I was working very closely with Mohammed Ademo on this matter.
5. In Mid-2013 Mohammed Ademo told us at our weekly teleconference that there was an opportunity to get Oromo issue aired on Aljazeera. We discussed about it and delegated Mohammed Ademo and Jawar Mohammed to take part in it. That led to Jawar declaring, “I am Oromo First” on TV and that as we know became controversial
6. Shortly after that incident, Jawar suggested we should use Oromo First campaign to raise fund for OMN.
We all agreed and decided that other committee members must take part in the campaign too. The idea of me coming back to the US to take part in it was raised by Jawar himself but we decided against it because there were other things I was doing there and I also personal matters to attend to. So everybody else took part in the Oromo First campaign and we decided to end it in September 2013.
7. Once money was generated from Oromo communities, Arfase and I were assigned to see to it that the money was transferred to OMN account. This proved very difficult and OMN problem started at this point. Unbeknownst to us, Jawar Mohammed had created a parallel committee called Principal Coordinating Committee, PCC for short. Jawar and his wife Arfasse were members of this committee. Mohammed Ademo asked Jawar what the role of the PCC was. He assured us its role is simply to collect the fund and transfer it to OMN. That proved to be false. Week after week and month after month Arfasse and Jawar who were supposed to talk to PCC members and transfer the money to OMN kept giving one reason after another for failing to do so. Out of more than $300,000 collected by Oromo community only $20,000 was transferred to OMN account.We were very frustrated. ￼￼
8. Meanwhile, Mohammed Ademo drafted bylaws and code of conduct for OMN. They were all excellent. I suggested a minor change that was accepted. Only Jawar Mohammed disagreed on a clause pertaining to politics and media and promised he will write an alternative clause instead. We agreed. We waited for more than 6 six weeks but he never produced the alternative clause he had promised.
9. Then it was time to nominate people to be on Board of Trustees. Jawar Mohammed suggested that members of the PCC should take part in the nomination and we all agreed. A joint OMN-PCC teleconference was called. The PCC had 11 members including Jawar and Arfase.
The number of effective OMN members was hence 6. The discussion became the discussion of 6 against 11. The first topic to be discussed was criteria for selection of board members. A proposal was made by OMN founding member that those elected to be on board of trustees must not have a high level active participation in a political organization. All PCC members disagreed very strongly. There was no listening at all. The PCC did not come to discuss, they came to dictate and they had the vote to do whatever they wanted. They therefore handpicked Board members without participation from us.
10. Early on we had discussed we will hire a media professional for short term to help us lay the foundation in Minneapolis. We wanted that person to be someone who has TV background and practical experience and we were looking for such a person.
11. Immediately after the first PCC-OMN joint meeting, Jawar convened PCC meeting and they decided that he will quit his studies at Columbia and move to Minneapolis to lead the founding effort. That meant they have overturned our earlier decision to hire an expert in media affairs. Mohammed Ademo and I said we should instead hire an experienced person. We also argued because Jawar is a prominent person in Ethiopian politics, the idea of him running OMN, a supposedly independent media, does not sound right. The PCC members all agreed with what Jawar said and Mohammed Ademo and I resigned the next morning. Tigist Geme followed us shortly after that.
12. It is important to grasp this chain of events. Jawar Mohammed established a separate committee called PCC that his wife chaired. This committee controlled the fund raised from Oromo communities. Because of good will we never objected to PCC joining OMN committee in the selection of board of directors. That turned out to be a fatal mistake on our part. With that action, Jawar put himself in a position to single handedly pick OMN board and executive committee members.
13. Dr. Birhanu Dirbaba is supposedly the editor-in-chief for OMN. But in reality Jawar has been acting as the editor-in-chief as well. Dr. Birhanu had resigned once over disagreement with what Jawar has been doing. He was rehired again after a prolonged intense plea by OMN board members. There is no guarantee that he will not leave again.
14. Micah Cirrii, one of the founding members resigned from OMN less than two months ago protesting Jawar Mohammed’s dictatorial actions.
15. Girma Tadese, Arafase and Jawar have agreed to make Jawar the editor-in-chief of OMN. The few people remaining with OMN rejected this idea and that is why it has not been announced yet.
16. Contrary to what OMN has announced, Ahmed Yasin and Kadiro Elemo quit protesting Jawar Mohammed’s dictatorial behavior. It surprises me why people do not call them and ask what the truth is.
17. The exodus from OMN will continue unless solution is found immediately. The following actions are desperately needed. a. OMN board must appoint independent investigators. The investigators must speak to all parties concerned. b. Jawar’s role in the organization, and the pay he deserves must be decided and made public. c. A new executive director must be appointed in a transparent manner. Appointing someone hand picked by Jawar again is not going to solve the problem. d. The members of the Board of directors of a company are elected by people who invested in it. Oromo communities around the world are the investors in OMN. They should be the ones who can nominate and elect board of directors. This has to be codified in the OMN bylaws and implemented immediately.
AFRICANGLOBE – Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has told a local private newspaper that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will bear the consequences of Ethiopia’s response if their operation in and around Eritrea’s Port of Assab supports the ‘Eritrean regime’s destabilization agenda against Ethiopia.’ He made the remarks after a recent United Nations monitoring group report indicates that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have leased the Port of Assab for 30 years from the Eritrean government in their coalition to fight the Houthis in Yemen.
“They have assured us that they would not be engaged in activities that would endanger the peace and security of Ethiopia. They have said this is only a choice of tactical convenience to their operation in Yemen and that they would evacuate the area as soon as the mission is completed,” Hailemariam told The Reporter newspaper. “We have also stressed that they will bear the consequences of our response if their operation in the area supports the Eritrean regime’s destabilization agenda against Ethiopia. Although we understand their objective, we were not consulted before the countries reached to this agreement.”
New Television show to enhance Ethiopians finance and business literacy is to begin soon, according to Capital.
The new TV show’s title is “Nurona Bizness,” literally translated as “Life and Business,” and it will be aired in Amharic on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate’s main channel EBC 1.
The show is part of EBC’s new programming conducted in partnership with Abega Management, producer of the Show to provide the audience with content and alternatives.
Abega Management has finalized preparations to start the first airing of the show on November 27, 2015.
Concerning content selection and production of the show, Yebegashet Alemayehu, Manager of Abega Management, has over 20 years of experience in media and financial management in Ethiopia and overseas.
The show will be instrumental in equipping Ethiopians to make better financial decisions, appreciate their right and responsibilities as customers and understand and manage risk, Yebegashet said. He also said the show will provide elements for job hunters on the challenges and ways of getting financially profitable and personally satisfying jobs.
The 40 minutes show is scheduled to be aired every Friday after 10 PM news on EBC 1.
An Uber driver in North Carolina said a passenger attacked and threatened to shoot him over the weekend because the man believed he was Muslim.
Samson Woldemichael, who came to the U.S. eight years ago from Ethiopia, said he picked up the passenger early Sunday morning from a Charlotte bar and set off to the man’s home about 10 miles away, reported WBTV-TV.
The man became belligerent when they arrived at his home and threatened to shoot Woldemichael in the face and strangle him before hurling anti-Muslim slurs and profanity at the driver.
“He asked me if I was a Muslim, (and) I said I was not a Muslim,” Woldemichael said. “I was driving and he hit me while I was driving.”
Woldemichael, who said he is Christian, said he did not know why the man assumed he was Muslim or why that made him so angry.
“I told him in the first place I was not a Muslim, (but) it’s not right to generalize people and do that,” he said.
Woldemichael said the man refused to get out of the car after threatening to kill him, and he demanded the driver get out.
The driver said he was afraid to park, so he drove around the block until the passenger struck him hard in the forehead, nearly knocking him out, and the man continued hitting him in the head.
Woldemichael said he stopped and started honking his horn to attract attention, and he said the passenger jumped out of the car and again threatened to shoot the driver.
“He was saying he would shoot me and he was acting like he’s hiding his hand in his back, so he was acting like he was armed,” said Woldemichael, who drove away at that point and called 911.
Uber passengers pay up front with their credit cards, and Woldemichael is hoping police are able to track down the man who attacked him.
So far, no arrests have been made.
Woldemichael said he wished some Americans weren’t so afraid of immigrants like himself.
“There are people who are not originally from here but who are really Americans in their hearts,” he said. “They love the system. They love the country and they want to protect the system here, and they want to raise their kids peacefully with the existing system. They believe in America, so it’s better to work with them than generalizing them and attacking them.”
Ethiopian-Americans in Denver and other U.S. cities are demanding that a Swiss wristwatch owned by the late Emperor Haile Selassie be returned to his royal descendants.
They’ve been working with Selassie’s grandson to persuade the auction house Christie’s to halt a scheduled sale. Late Monday, Christie’s officials agreed to withdraw the watch, which is valued between $520,000 and $1 million.
Selassie died in 1975 after a Marxist coup in which soldiers plundered his property.
“We are honestly shocked that a prestigious and reputable auction house will want to get involved with the sale of this watch,” said a letter to Christie’s from the Society of Ethiopians in Colorado, home to an estimated 30,000 Ethiopian-Americans.
“He loved this watch so much that he wore it on few occasions until his suspicious death in 1975. All of his property was stolen or confiscated by heartless junior military officers of Communist Ethiopia,” society spokesman Girum Alemayehu said in the letter.
Ethiopian-Americans regard the auctioning of Selassie’s watch with “outrage” because it was seized “without due process of law,” grandson Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie said in an e-mail from Washington D.C.
“We know that other personal items have been taken and probably sold. … Knowing the history of what transpired in Ethiopia, it is perplexing why such a reputable firm such as Christie’s would not say who the customer is who is the owner,” Prince Ermias said.
Wide concerns about re-sale of war plunder, arising around British colonial removal of Greek marbles and seizures during World War II, have led to increasing demands for return of property taken by enemy forces. Italy was forced to return a 3,000-year-old obelisk taken during Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s prime minister has told the BBC he is not afraid of criticism from journalists, despite the country’s reputation for stifling free speech.
“Free media is very essential for the democratic process and… development,” Hailemariam Desalegn said. He insisted some bloggers and reporters arrested last year were not real journalists and had terror links. Charges of terrorism have been dropped against all of the so-called Zone 9 bloggers.
Five were freed in July after more than a year in jail ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit; the other four were acquitted of terrorism charges by a court last month.
The Zone 9 website had carried pieces critical of the government.
‘We are not perfect’
But Mr Hailemariam said that their profession had not prompted their arrests, rather evidence linking them to groups wanting to destabilise the government.
ETHIOPIA— Witnesses in Durban, South Africa, say six people of Ethiopian origin have been killed in alleged xenophobic attacks over the past week.
Yonas Fikru, an Ethiopian businessman in Durban, says he knew all six victims, all of them men in their 20s who he says used to hang out at his shop.
He says they were killed in separate incidents, mostly during daylight hours, by South Africans.
“They just come, steal and attack. In fact, the body of one of the victims is about to be sent to back home … they doused his body in kerosene and killed him. But there were two others who were killed before him,” Fikru told VOA’s Horn of Africa Service in an interview Friday. “[The attackers] didn’t steal anything from them. They just came and killed them.”
Tegegne Aboye, another member of the Ethiopian community in Durban, said locals have tried multiple times to report incidents to the police but “it always falls on deaf ears.”
“The killer vigilante mobs are thinking that it is their right to do what they are doing,” he said. “Even when they are caught or when someone point out criminals, we see them released shortly. Some of them steal and we see them coming out the next day and committing more crime.”
Aboye said the Ethiopian embassy has not given enough help.
“We see our brothers getting killed, doused with a three-liter jerrican of kerosene, and no one is helping us when this happens,” he said. “We haven’t seen anyone sticking up for Ethiopian citizens here.”
VOA attempts to contact South African police about the cases received no response by the time of publication.
South Africa has experienced recurring bouts of attacks against foreigners in recent years. Poor South Africans blame the immigrants for taking jobs and contributing to crime.