Once in a day, stories from Wazema newsroom and other sources.

December 4, 2023

1) Gunmen killed five people on Monday in an attack in Shirka woreda, East Arsi zone, Oromia State, BBC Amharic reported. The report said the attackers mainly targeted the followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in various kebelles. According to the report, sources indicated that gunmen have been killing local residents since September. Last week, Wazema reported that gunmen killed 36 people in three rural kebelles in the same woreda

2) Ayder Referral Hospital in Tigray regional capital Mekelle is facing a severe shortage of medicines and laboratory supplies, Wazema has learnt from sources in the hospital. The hospital’s public relations office coordinator, Birhane Gebre Michael, told Wazema that even patients with minor illnesses were being referred to other facilities due to the shortage. The hospital’s doctors, nurses and pharmacists have been leaving for other parts of the country and abroad because of the state of hopelessness and salary-related problems, the official said. Wazema learnt that the hospital’s staff had not been paid for 17 months before the November 2022 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. Besides, they have not received overtime payments since the start of the war in 2020. The deputy coordinator of the laboratory department, Dawit Semil, said they were providing 95 diagnostic services before the war, but the figure had dropped to less than 30. We have repeatedly asked the federal agency for medical supplies, to no avail, Dawit added. 

3) Ethiopia’s central bank Monday denied media reports that it was planning a major foreign exchange rate change. The Reporter newspaper report on Sunday is “completely inaccurate” and “misleading”, the bank said in a statement. According to the bank, the newspaper made the “inaccurate” assertion based on a comment by an MP when it presented its quarterly report to a committee of parliament last week. The bank said it had not mentioned any foreign exchange change plan at the meeting, nor was the issue raised during the discussion. The bank warned against any artificial commodity price increases due to the report. The newspaper reported that the bank had planned to narrow the gap between the official and unofficial foreign exchange rates by 95%.

4) Ethiopia’s Finance ministry on Sunday inked an agreement with UAE company AMEA Power to build a 300-megawatts offshore wind power plant in the eastern part of the country, the ministry announced in a statement. The Aysha plant will be built in Somali State at the cost of $600 million, said the ministry. According to the ministry, the plant, which is expected to generate 1.22 terawatt hours of electricity per year, will be the largest in the Horn of Africa. The project will create jobs for 2,000 people during the construction and operational phases, the ministry added.

5) The African Union High-Level Panel has proposed the extension of the term of the AU Monitoring, Verification and Compliance mechanism (MVCM) to December 2024. The current mandate expires at the end of December. The 3rd Joint Committee Meeting of the MVCM of the Ethiopian peace process was held on December 1, the AU said in a statement. Representatives of the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the AU High-Level Panel and the head of the AU Department of Peace and Security, Bankole Addoe, attended the meeting. The two parties reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Agreement, to expedite the disarmament, the disbandment and reintegration (DDR) process and the return of IDPs, said AU. AU also disclosed that the two parties agreed to hold a strategic reflection session involving the AU High-Level Panel in two months. 

6) The committee established by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to select candidates for the chairmanship of the national electoral board announced last Saturday that it settled on two contenders. It said it had chosen Melatework Hailu (female) and Tadesse Lemma according to the criteria given to it, and submitted the names to the Prime Minister. The committee disclosed that it had received 56 nominations from the public, including four women. Abiy will submit one nominee to parliament for appointment. The board’s former chairperson, Birtukan Mideksa, resigned in September.

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