First I got an opportunity to work with the Ethiopian Television in1999 after working as a reporter for five years; I was fired for starting class in my free time with out getting permission from ETV officials. I had an ambition to upgrade my diploma level education.
The ETV officials can send their workers depending on race and member of the ruling political parties for further education including abroad. But I’m not the member of the ruling party but I’m an Oromo tribe which is in fight for its freedom for more than 35 years!
After three months become jobless, I joined the VOA (voice of America Radio) as a freelance correspondent for Afaan Oromo and Amharic service in October 2005. I got
the chance to join VOA when the East and Horn of Africa director of VOA Mr. Timothy Spence come to Ethiopia, and speak with other journalists to hire more journalists for VOA. And other journalists give my name to Mr. Timothy and he asked me to send my CV, and after looking at my work experience, he interviewed me and ask me to prepare reports on three different issues (political, social and Economical situations of the country) and after that they call me from America and told me how to call the studio peoples and after I do that they gave me Voice exam and finally they assure me that I passed the Exam successfully!
VOA created an opportunity to satisfy my passion.
I had opportunities to cover various human right abuses and conflicts. Among others is the 2005 Post Election when more than 192 protesters were shot dead by the government army in Addis Ababa , and other hundreds in Oromia regional state including member of parliament. Moreover I have reported Oromo –Somali conflict which is created by TPLF when more than 300 people were murdered by the government –supported Somali militants.
One way or another, the Ethiopian government was not happy with my reporting and snatched my VOA license and refused to renew it.
I became jobless again, VOA tries to intervene the ministry of information of Ethiopia but unsuccessful. They didn’t respond on it,
And I asked three times the ministry of information to renew my job license, but remained unsuccessful. And I reported my case to Amnesty international, frontline defenders, and East and human right defenders Project.
East and horn of Africa Human Right defender Project and Frontline defenders granted me money when I was pregnant and after delivered a baby.
Then, on night of 21 June 2007, three armed federal police men entered to my house and at that time my younger brother who is 16 years old was living with me.
They took him to one class and locked inside. And turned back to me, I was sitting on the chair by holding my three month baby. They ordered me to live the baby on the bed and I did what they ordered me. Then they said” we will burn you including your baby if you don’t respond what we will ask you! One of them approached me and hit me until my ears changed brown! The other solder opens his bag and takes one sharp metal and can you see this object? I will put it inside you (calling my reproductive organ) now tell us the truth! And I stared crying .The third solider asked me do you know Yonatan Debisa, I replied don’t know him. The first solider said don’t cheat as we know that you are working for OLF with him. He ordered you to Shout for the Oromo, and the second continues “tell us the truth; what is your objective to wards the government? Who orders you to cover the conflict issues? We as solders didn’t try to go to the place you go in most cases the place which is occupied by the OLF groups, so by any means you are not an independent journalist, you are working for OLF. We know that they will help you after you stop job? You will give them information!”. I denied for their questions
One of them slaped me continuesly and the other show me that sharp metal! The third solider only said, “tell us the truth if you want relief!” And I started crying and I asked them, “Please leave me by the name of God! I’m not the member of any political party, I’m a journalist but I’m Oromo as I can’t choose my race by will.” and tried to hold my baby. Then the first solider said if you need we can kill your baby in front of you! And I kneiled on their feet and tried to beg them!
And they continued their question, “if you are not the member of OLF why are you shouting by opposing the government activities and you are a single woman why don’t you kept quite by respecting the rule and regulation of the government?”
And I replied I didn’t oppose the rule and regulation of my country but it is my responsibility to report on facts, as a journalist it is not you that evaluates my job. You may interfere wrong activities but can’t evaluate reporting contents, I replied and the first solider hits me by his foot on my belly. And they said “don’t speak to us like this!” And the second continued, “She is filled by OLF ideology! She dreams to see free oromiya! And they chat to each other and continued their question!
We know that you bought house from government? Where did you get that much money?” I replied “as you know I was working for VOA and during that time I paid for the cost of the house!” They said “you want to live in a government house on the other hand you are opposing its activities! What does this mean?” They said! “I’m not opposing the government but I’m opposing any human right abuses” I said. “by the way who are you to speak beyond your capacity, it is this government that gives you to speak in front of people, but you move beyond your capacity, now on wards, we would like if you shut your mouth and stops your activities with the OLF members, for now give us some dollars from that you collect from your OLF and the white peoples!”. And I replied “I have no money in my house for a time being”. they searched every document and took away and they ordered me, “by any means you have money and you will give us money”, and I gave them one 300 ET birr that I kept for my baby and family food, and they ordered me not to tell this to any body and if i do that they will be not far from me! And they will urinate in your mouth. Finally they left me and went away!
Then I left jobless, I became so desperate, and I tried to move away to Uganda but finally got a serious mental problem and joined a rehabilitation center for people with mental problem .I left the center after one year and stayed with my 68 year old mother for some time with my baby.
I applied for scholarship by the help of opposition political party called OFDM () and got a chance to come to UK. And my life is in danger I have no right to live in my country. They can kill me! I know that UK is a where freedom for human right emerged before 1000 years, so I need your support for my self and for my oppressed Oromo peoples!