Opinion

Land Grabbing and Its Dire Consequences in Ethiopia

By Hundee Dhugaasaa

The suffering of farmers in Ethiopia; especially in Oromia, Benishangul, Somali and Gambella regions is going from worse to the worst as a result of inequitable land acquisitions, better known as “neo-colonial land grabbing”, by foreign investors in the name of lease by the Ethiopian regime. This act is worsening the already broken food security situation in Ethiopia.

The peasants are losing their farming and grazing land they owned for centuries in a matter of months. The draconian proclamations and the brutal police force behind the mess is a point to be noted. This new form of agrarian neo-colonialism is launched under the pretext of utilizing “Wastelands” while the reality and reason behind is completely different.

The Ethiopian government officials already acknowledged that 8420 foreign investors have received licence for commercial farms. Even if the problems started when contemporary Ethiopia assumed its current territorial definition at the end of the nineteenth century, the danger posed by this regime, even if it looks it is going under the pretext of law and the cover of investment; is extremely huge. The regime change in 1991 and the subsequent ratification of the Constitution (1995) failed to restore any tangible land ownership right.

Articles of the new Constitution complicated the problems of alienation and powerlessness experienced by the people for so long. In the FDRE Constitution, the rights of citizens to possess farming land are maintained (Art.40.4). Proclamation no.89/1997 (Art.2.3) provides for the right to lease one’s holding.  In line with the provisions of the decree, the Oromia State issued a Directive (no.3/1995) which states that any farmer may rent a maximum of half of his holding to anyone at any rate for a maximum of three years (Art.23.2). But contrary to all these pillars and precedents, proclamation 455/2005 gives authority to the Woreda and urban administration, not to defend and protect but to confiscate and expropriate land for any purpose the higher authorities believes are for ‘public purpose and/or investment’.

The farmers are expected to evacuate from their ancestral land with a short notice of 30 days, as per Article 4(4) of the same proclamation in discussion. Failure to comply with this short notice will entitle authorities to use police force to forcefully evict farmers from their land. This very proclamation clearly marked the end of land right of Ethiopian farmers and opened big door for land grabbers.

Full Story (Land Grabbing and Its Dire Consequences in Ethiopia) – Jajjabee Blog

also see : The Second African Revolution

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