Bodies of protesters remain afloat the water

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by Aba Gobena

Resistance to unjust taxation existed ever since rulers began imposing taxes on their subjects. From Magna Carta through American Revolution to French revolution, many rebellions were prompted by either resentment of taxation or had tax refusal as a component.

Protest in the street of Ambo came to effect after the regime dismayed business owners across the country with a 50% to 150% increment in tax payment suddenly.

“You must abide by the new estimation and pay off as soon as possible,” iterated vehemently a tax officer in Ambo.

Abera, father of three children and a disabled wife, runs a barber in the city of Ambo where he took to the streets in protest of “economic punishment” by the regime. According to the new tax estimation , Abera needs to folk out 75000 birr a year. “I hardly make 12000 birr a year and the regime unilaterally estimated I could make in hundreds of thousands a year,” brusted into tears Abera.

Read Aloud:   Zehabesha Newspaper - 96 | PDF

The turn of the week saw protest in different parts of the country but all for the same story of dismay towards cruel punishment by the regime. Protestors were indiscriminately shot dead on the streets as usual. Abera’s district is in degeneration of desolation after regime security forces shot to death two business owners taking to the streets where bodies of protesters remain afloat the water.

1 Comment

  1. Taxation in the old country is not ingrained in the culture of doing business or even ownership. The entire clan on my mother’s side never paid a red cent in taxes until it was forced to leave its small territory by other aggressive tribes. They were farming pastoralists. And those who have been small merchants and traveling traders used to pay once a year fee as a permit. That was it. I remember way back in the early 50’s(it could have been in the late 40’s) when the clan on my mothers almost went into a rebellion when one provoking district civil employee was trying to seize some of the cattle the clan brought to the market to sell as a tax. Actually he was looking for some one to butter his palms. His problem was that the clan had unwritten but gentlemen’s agreement with the commander of Menelik, Aba Shaitan, many decades ago that his soldiers would never go into the villages to collect any tribute if he was let pass thru the territory. The late emperor knew that and never tried to send his ‘goomrook’ officials to collect any tax or tribute. So when the district governor found out that the whole clan was in fit to mix it up he withdrew that tax collector and invited our elders to a meeting with the then provincial governor. My clan sent its elders and reminded the governor the truce with Aba Shaitan many decades ago. It was said that he took the issue all the way to the emperor and a new deal was reached where the clan would only pay a token fee per head of cattle when sold at the existing open markets. The emperor through his local officials explained why such a fee was needed. That the government needed the money to open new schools and clinics. I still remember the one very small clinic opened a few years after the face-off. In regards to my relatives who have been merchants, they never used cash register or any revenue and expense logbook as we know it up until some of them moved to the capital. Even then they were no cash registers most of the time. How many of you remember getting a receipt after a purchase? Well, paper was so scarce anyway. If you ask me about some of those merchants way deep in the countryside, they never paid a red cent most of the times. That country is still a frontier economy when it comes to taxation. But since the 1940’s and 50’s a system of taxation had spread into small towns and areas close to those towns. A culture of contraband is deeply rooted throughout the country. This is going to be a serious problem even if a democratic government is in place. Due to lack of written records the levy is going to be based on what the tax man estimating. That could end up being a sparking flint with many small businesses. Every modern developed country had gone through such fracas. Our own Good Ole USA had ‘The Whiskey Rebellion’ to deal with just a few years after independence. George Washington himself had to summon well armed militia to march on the rebellion. Luckily the rebels chickened out and his march ended with out bloodshed. Now, I am not equating that great man Washington with the confused philosopher Sebhat Nega and his deacons. But what I am saying is that such rebellion is expected and I was not surprised by the news. The difference is on the condition whether the tax payer will have to right to appeal the estimate and will receive fair justice. What algorithm is the taxman using for his decision? Or is it just a SWAG(Those of you who have been in the areas of operation management or industrial engineering know what I am alluding to). One thing is very clear to me. Now those who are itching to carve out a territory to call it their own fiefdom will pick up this anger and run with it. It is going to be a ‘liberation front’ issue, ‘casus belli’ so to say. I hear what they are saying now. ‘Here we go again. Neftegnas are at it again. They took our land and now they want to tax us for owning nothing’. Just go close to them and listen to what they are saying at their close quarters. Now they are priming the youth to throwing itself into a waiting inferno again. And they are doing that from their comfy homes here among us. Oh… Grief!!!!

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