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Ethiopia’s Oromo region begins Irreecha festival

The annual Irreecha festival of the Oromo people marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the harvest season

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Ethiopia's Oromo region begins Irreecha festival
Thousands of Oromo people attend the "Irreecha" festival also known as Oromo Thanksgiving at Addis Ababa's Bishoftu town in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 5, 2019. Minasse Wondimu Hailu / Anadolu Agency

Members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group chanted and waved flags as they gathered Saturday for the first time to celebrate their thanksgiving festival in the capital Addis Ababa, a city that prominent members of the group claim belongs to them.

The annual Irreecha festival of the Oromo people marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the harvest season. 

It is traditionally held in the city of Bishoftu, located in the Oromia region some 50 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa. 

Many Oromo leaders argue that the capital is part of their group’s territory, meaning the decision to allow Irreecha celebrations there risked exacerbating ethnic tensions.

But a concert Friday night in the central Meskel Square and blessing ceremonies Saturday morning unfolded without incident. 

READ: Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians decry rise in persecution ahead of major holiday

Dawud Ibsa, leader of the opposition Oromo Liberation Front, a former rebel group, told reporters that Saturday’s celebrations were “very significant” for Oromos who believe their claims to Addis Ababa have not been respected. 

Ethiopia's Oromo region begins Irreecha festival
Thousands of Oromo people attend the “Irreecha” festival also known as Oromo Thanksgiving’ at Addis Ababa’s Bishoftu town in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 5, 2019. Minasse Wondimu Hailu / Anadolu Agency

“This is our turn and a revival of what is taken from you,” he said. 

In a park not far from Meskel Square, large crowds of mostly Oromos dipped flowers into pools of water and then sprayed themselves in a gesture symbolising gratitude and renewal. 

Yado Birhanu, a student, said celebrating Irreecha in Addis Ababa was fitting given the Oromos played a major role in anti-government protests that swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, himself an Oromo, to office in 2018. 

“We have sacrificed many young people to bring forth these reforms,” she said. 

In remarks at the concert Friday, Shimelis Abdisa, vice president of the Oromia region, struck a similarly triumphant tone.

“Today, we have crushed those who crushed us, and now the Oromo is winning back his respect right where he lost his dignity,” Shimelis said. 

“Today, our politics is coming from the periphery to the centre.” 

But Takele Uma, the Oromo deputy mayor of Addis Ababa, stressed on inclusion. 

“Now we are celebrating Irreecha with other nations and nationalities in the capital of Ethiopia,” he said. 

“We are doing this because Addis Ababa is home to every one of us.”

Tight security – 

Ethiopia's Oromo region begins Irreecha festival
Thousands of Oromo people attend the “Irreecha” festival also known as Oromo Thanksgiving’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 5, 2019. Minasse Wondimu Hailu / Anadolu Agency

Irreecha has already been a political flashpoint in recent years. 

In 2016, the use of tear gas and firearms by security forces sparked a stampede that killed dozens, some of whom drowned in a nearby lake. 

READ: Ethiopian youths “pimp out” jalopy Beetles to revive auto culture

The government put the death toll at 55, though Human Rights Watch later said it could have been in the hundreds.

The following year, Irreecha turned into an anti-government protest. 

Last year’s Irreecha, the first since Abiy came to power, was peaceful. 

The celebrations in Addis Ababa on Saturday will be followed by a larger event on Sunday in Bishoftu. 

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said the festival was expected to draw “millions of Oromos from all over the country as well as non-Oromo visitors from different parts of the country and other parts of the world.” 

Abiy said the festival was “a symbol of peace and unity,” Fana reported.

Security forces were nonetheless on high alert. Federal police on Thursday said they had detained a number of people with weapons who were seeking to “disrupt” the celebrations. 

By midday Saturday, the Addis Ababa Police Commission was reporting that it had gone off “without any security problems,” according to Fana. 

Security is expected to remain tight in Addis Ababa all weekend, and roads in the city centre were closed Saturday.

Culture and Tourism

Nigeria’s First Class Monarch, Oba Of Benin, Gets New Princess

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Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, has officially announced the birth of a princess, whose birth coincides with both his birthday and coronation anniversary.

A statement signed by Frank Irabor, Secretary, Benin Traditional Council, and made available to journalists in Benin on Monday, said the princess was born on Oct. 20.

The statement explained that the announcement was delayed till now because of the tension raised by the #EndSars protests of October.

“The Benin Traditional Council, on behalf of His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare 11, and the Royal Palace of Benin Kingdom, joyfully announces that her Royal Highness, Queen Owamagbe of Benin Kingdom, has been delivered of a baby girl.

“The infant princess and her mother are in excellent health and good spirit.

“It is our prayers that the princess will grow in good health, excellence and grace and that she shall be blessed by Almighty God,’’ the statement said.

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Art

The Youth Excellence Awards

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The Youth Excellence Awards (YEA), Ghana, is an awards scheme which celebrates exceptional and outstanding youth in Ghana. Those who strive to be better, and at the same time they have a positive impact on their society in their various field of work.

The scheme believes that by celebrating, acknowledging and rewarding these extraordinary youth, it helps build a good platform by having a voice and gives opportunities to the new generational leaders’ while building a great attitude in the youth to strive for excellence.

By this awards scheme individual efforts to contribute positively to the economy on the continent by striving hard with dedication and perseverance by overcoming challenges and the unfavourable economy will be admonished.

The awards board consists of Kwame Owusu Danso and John Demelo.

The awarding board is seeking outstanding youth in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, professionals in the Public and Private sectors, Health, Governance, Non-profit sectors and will recognize their achievement in business inventions and innovations and community building.

CATEGORIES 

YEA categories cover a wide range of sectors including; Leadership, Health, Education, Visual Arts, Journalism, Agriculture, Law, Sports, and Technology.

WHY YEA

To recognize and celebrate youth leaders who professionally or personally have impacted on youth through outstanding leadership.

To identify projects and achievements spearhead by youth which has produced clear value and chalked success and has benefited society (particularly, the youth)?

It’s a platform that brings all hardworking youth together to network and build business relationships.

To encourage our upcoming youth that excellence and success can be achieved at tender age.

REQUIREMENT 

For any individual to be eligible for any category of the awards scheme, the following must be met:

The candidate must be an upcoming (this should be clearly defined) living and doing business in Ghana

Nominees with mutual submissions: nominees who have no advantage over those with one submission. In essence, the selection process will not depend on the number of nominations an individual receives.

Nominations can be anonymous and letters of recommendations are not required.
Nominees must still be a youth by event date (be between the ages of 18 and 40).
Must be a youth leader, Entrepreneur/CEO, Co-founder, or COO of a firm.
Ready to travel to any of the African countries

ORGANIZERS 

The brain behind the organization of Youth Excellence Awards is the Clique Empire, which has an enviable record of organizing spectacular and successful events, including, “Take it off pool Rave,” “YES – Today,” and the Youth Excellence Awards.

BENEFITS
YEA Ghana will promote and celebrate Africa’s young change-makers, entrepreneurs, and youth leaders from all walks of life. YEA Ghana is a platform for global recognition of individuals as outstanding young achievers and youth leaders. Publication of winners in newspapers and blog sites across Ghana after the event.

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Art

I did not cheat on 9ice – Ex-wife, Toni Payne Reveals

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9ice’s ex wife, Toni Payne, has revealed that she did not cheat on 9ice, she has however, warned fans to stop coming to her social media page accusing her of cheating on her ex-husband, 9ice.

Toni Payne said this on her Instagram page after a video of 9ice cheating on his wife, Sunkanmi with another woman went viral

There were allegations sometime ago that the marriage between Payne and 9ice crashed because she was cheating on 9ice with Ruggedman.

However, the ex-wife took to her Instagram page on Saturday insisting that she never cheated while she was married to 9ice and cursed those hurling insults at her.

She warned fans to leave her out of the recent drama surrounding 9ice and let her leave her life, adding that she has moved on.

Toni Payne said: “One of the most annoying things I have to deal with is some random idiot coming on my page to accuse me of cheating on my ex, something that never happened. I don’t know how many times I have to say this.

”One of the most annoying things I have to deal woth is some random idiot coming to my page to accuse me of cheating on my ex… something that never happened. I dunno how many times I have to say that song wasn’t about me. I helped mix and master the darn song. I’m a smart woman, why would I help out on a song that would make me look bad?

Anyways, I cursed someone who came to my page with that nonsense and honestly, I do not feel bad. False accusations ae hurtful… I have moved on and they should too. Stop coming on my page about imaginary nonsense from 10 years ago. Let me enjoy my peaceful and wonderful lie without morbid reminders. Anyone who spreads lies about me or comes to harass me about something I did not do will NEVER know peace and favor. I say this from the deepest place of my heart. Free me, abeg.
It’s been 10 years, move on and stop accusing me of cheating on my ex-husband, 9ice. I don’t know why people keep coming to my page with this, I’ve moved on please leave me alone. The fact I have to deal with this 10 years later is annoying but please leave me out of this bullshit because I don’t want any part of this.”

This is coming after 9ice publicly apologised to his wife for cheating on her.

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