Sep 08, 2006

Oromo: OLF Says Government Continues to Rob Food Aid

According to the Oromo Liberation Front, the government is using starvation as a weapon to silence the poor people and the international aid as a political tool.

September 6, 2006 — It is a public secret that more than 10 million people are starving in Ethiopia. This is mainly the result of TPLF’s failed economic policies and lack of personal freedom. On the other hand, the government is using starvation as a weapon to silence the poor people and making them to focus on their daily bread than on the larger problem that the country is facing. Western governments and NGOs are responding to the incidence of starvation by providing food aid. Although this is the generosity by donors, our people are not making use of this support. It is the government is using the aid as a political tool.

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has repeatedly recounted that the government of Ethiopia is diverting the aid to feed its own army or sell the food items provided as aid. We have also informed the international community that the government is using food aid to gain political support. They have been distributing food aid only to those who accepted their political program and denying those who question any of their failed policy. This is contrary to what the aid program has been meant for.

What is currently going on at food aid stations in Shashemenne, Wolayita and Finfinne (Addis Ababa) run by Oxfam and Alula Care is a good example. The aid was ear marked for the starved people in the southern Oromia and Somali region. However, with a direct order from the federal government office the aid are being loaded and sold somewhere else. Even though this is not a new phenomenon, the government is claiming that the owners and drivers of the trucks carrying the aid are stealing the aid food. Actually the government agents have been organizing and misdirecting the food aid by paying the drivers a lump sum of money corresponding to the volume of food they are transporting.

More information can be found in the full version of the press-released article at: