Ethiopia ‘using aid as a political tool’

Women wait to cast votes in 2010 Ethiopia elections

Ethiopians wait to cast their votes in last year’s elections in which the ruling party, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, won 99.6% of the seats. Photograph: Jerome Delay/AP

Development aid in Ethiopia is alleged to have been withheld from those opposed to the government. These are longer-term funds aimed at poverty reduction, not the emergency aid currently needed to help those affected by the famine.

A joint undercover team from BBC’s Newsnight and the bureau of investigative journalism at London’s City University, travelled to Addis Ababa, the capital, and the south, posing as tourists. They spoke to farmers in the south who supported the opposition. The farmers said they were deprived of fertiliser and seed for their crops. The team also found evidence that people had been tortured for their political beliefs. An opposition politician described scenes of torture, men hung upside down, immersed in water and given electric shocks.

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