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Oromo Farmers & Students: No Food! No Land! No Life!

Agriculture makes up virtually half the GDP of Ethiopia, where four in every five people reside in rural areas. But since the mid-2000s, the government has awarded millions of hectares of arable land to foreign investors. The community development program, which objectives is to move 1.5 million rural families from their land to new “model” villages across the nation, has faced allegations of brutal evictions, political coercion, intimidation, imprisonment, rapes, beatings and disappearances.

Changes to land use without consultation of traditional owners of the land – particularly by violent displacement of indigenous masses, can, in the long run, result in the disappearance of human communities that are historically identified with that ancestral land. Both expansion of amorphous urban centers & cities, without expressive integration of indigenous peoples and large-scale transfers of rural land to foreign investors, are the main political tricks of the current government of Ethiopia under the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front ( TPLF ) or the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front ( EPRDF ) to achieve the target of the systematic extraction of rural communities dwelling around cities and at vicinity of agro-industries, predominantly in Oromia and Southern (Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella and Omo ) regions. Disputes arising from land grabbing have grown to be very complex wars threatening the existence of the oppressed peoples of Ethiopia, because the masses are undemocratically represented by the regime.

Several governments have come and gone in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, the land problem has never been resolved adequately to rectify the injustices committed so far. Neither the existing laws nor resources are utilized in order to serve the interest of its citizens. In a country in which 85% of its population depends solely on what is generated from agriculture as a means of subsistence, the relation of land to human is crucial in a manner similar to the necessity of air to breath, sunshine and water to stay alive. To deprive anyone of any of these essential resources is equivalent to rendering a death sentence on him or her and also to their extended members of the family. Consequently, the ongoing land grabbing will certainly lead to increased conflict, create political instability, uproots the indigenous peoples and leads to food insecurity.

The government of a nation primary responsibility is to protect and make life comfortable for the citizen and populace, but what happens when the government turn against her own people and favor foreigners at the expense of the citizen, the cry of agony is the sound from the oppressed group in Ethiopia.

No food! No Land! No life!

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