NYT details how Ethiopia became One Nation under Surveillance

Takele Alene in his home in Fendika, Ethiopia. Besides being a farmer, Mr. Alene is a senior village official, serving as both an informant and an enforcer for the country’s governing party. Tiksa Negeri for The New York Times

The New York Times has a detailed report how Ethiopia’s ruling government is monitoring and keeping tap on citizens far from the capital Addis Ababa. The paper filed its report from the remote town of Fendika, in Gondar on the entrenched spying that goes in the village and elsewhere in the country.

Modeled after the Chinese communist party, EPRDF, Ethiopia’s ruling party , recruits anyone who will sell out for money (ሆ ዳ ም in the local lingo) to listen and watch any citizen who opposes the government and report to authorities. Even farmers who refuse to use fertilizer will be threatened with jail or more.

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It writes about Takele Alene, a farmer in northern Ethiopia, who spends a lot of his time prying into the personal and political affairs of his neighbors. “He knows who pays taxes on time, who has debts and who is embroiled in a land dispute. He also keeps a sharp lookout for thieves, delinquents and indolent workers”, the paper says. This is the job the government assigned him, keeping low-tech surveillance of the village.

EPRDF relies on a vast network of millions of party members as spies to root out any political dissent. The report from NYT validates what many Ethiopians already know, a nation under surveillance.

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