140 Dead In Ethiopia Land Dispute: The Problem With Government Ownership Of Land


Oromia killed (Forbes)Reports are coming from Ethiopia that up to 140 Oromo protestors have been killed by security forces during protests over the expansion of the capital city, Addis Ababa, onto farmland. The underlying cause of this is the country’s very strange policy of insisting that all land belongs to the government: essentially a feudal method of land management. If land were privately owned there simply would not be this problem, would not be these protests and of course would not have been these deaths. Who owns what and how they may dispose of it goes to the very heart of the most basic economic and public policy questions. And one of the things we’ve learnt over the centuries is that private ownership of these things, with the freedom of the owner to keep, lease or sell as they wish, is the foundation of both a wealthy and a peaceful society.

One report:

A rights organization says at least 140 people in Ethiopia’s Oromo state have been killed by security forces during anti-government protests, far beyond what the government has confirmed.

Human Rights Watch said Friday that Ethiopian sources killed at least 140 people and wounded many more in what the group says “may be the biggest crisis to hit Ethiopia since the 2005 election violence.” The rights group’s new estimate is nearly twice the death toll it estimated last month.

The cause?

The protests began in November when students opposed government proposals to take over territory in several towns in the Oromia region, sparking fears that Addis Ababa was looking to grab land traditionally occupied by the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group.
“Over the past eight weeks, Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, has been hit by a wave of mass protests over the expansion of the municipal boundary of the capital, Addis Ababa,” Horne said.
“The generally peaceful protests were sparked by fears the expansion will displace ethnic Oromo farmers from their land, the latest in a long list of Oromo grievances against the government.” Read More


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