Africa Now October 19, 2016
Topics: State of Emergency in Ethiopia and Grassroots Look at the #FeesMustFall Movement
Topics and Guests: Today Africa Now! continues to focus on Ethiopia—a discussion which the show began last week. As you are aware, on October 9th the government of Ethiopia declared a state of emergency which will be in effect for six months and a week later the parameters of the measure were made clear. Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes in a recent Amnesty International statement on the state of emergency measures noted that “These measures will deepen, not mitigate, the underlying causes of the sustained protests we have seen throughout the year, which have been driven by deep-seated human rights grievances.…” Months of demonstrations against the Ethiopian government which began in the Oromia region have spread, particularly to the Amhara region. In August peaceful demonstrations in the Oromia and Amhara regions were met with excessive force by Ethiopian security forces according to human rights groups. Then on October 2, tragedy struck a religious festival when dozens of protesters died due what rights groups say is excessive use of force by security forces. Joining Africa Now! to discuss the protests, state of emergency and other related issues in Ethiopia is Mr. Girma Tadesse. Mr. Girma Tadesse is an Oromo activist, co-founder of Oromo Advocacy Alliance and former executive director and co-founder of Oromia Media Network (OMN). A software engineer by profession, Mr. Tadesse regularly blogs on issues concerning Ethiopia, with a special emphasis on issues confronting the Oromo population in the country.
The June 16 1976 Uprising that began in Soweto and spread countrywide profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa. Of the various events that led to the uprising—the primary precipitator was located in the Apartheid government’s policy that resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953. The rise of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the formation of South African Students Organisation (SASO) raised the political consciousness of many students while others joined the wave of anti-Apartheid sentiment within the student community. Only four decades later, we bore witness to the rise of a similar student movement––the birth of #FeesMustFall. According to an article titled: Fees Must Fall Reloaded: What Does It All Mean?...available on Okayafrica.com. September 2016 marked almost exactly a year since South African students took up arms and shut down every major university citing the excessively high rate of tuition fees. The movement was led by a small group of student leaders who after marching down the streets in solidarity went to storm South Africa’s Union Buildings in Pretoria, resulting in President Jacob Zuma declaring a zero percent increase in fees in 2016. Fast forward 11 months and it seems like a glitch in the matrix has caused a bit of deja vu. With renewed protests erupting at multiple universities across the question that arises asks: What does it all mean? Since then, young girls in Pretoria High School for Girls have protested rules that discriminated against them wearing natural hair styles—as well as the prohibition of using their mother’s tongue. The #FeesMustFall Movement does not look to be slowing down as the show illustrates with the conversation with student leader from South Africa Ms. Mase Maramu. Our show was produced today in solidarity with the Native/Indigenous and Afro Descendant communities at Standing Rock, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, South Africa, and Ghana and other places who are fighting for the protection of our land for the benefit of all peoples!
Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC. Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).