Sidama Liberation Front

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One Of The Sidama’s Staunch Voices, Habte Yakob Balicha Succumbs To Death At His Prime Age Leaving Huge Void In Nation Yearning For a Strong Media Personality.

January 08, 2021

The Ethiopian politics is becoming extremely unsettling as state led violence defies humanity. The so called government is attacking its own citizens forging alliance with four foreign countries; the act unheard of in human history.

Due to the above treacherous acts of the government in Ethiopia; we were undergoing the periods of deep mourning for the death of thousands in Tigray, Oromia and Benshangul by government led war on its citizens; and the ensuing destruction of the livelihoods of the affected peoples and materials that were allowed to be looted by the foreign invaders. Suddenly, our formidable human rights defender and Media personality, Habte Balicha has been snatched from the nation by death in Johannesburg, South Africa on January 07, 2021. This is one of unsettling days for the Sidama nation. We are deeply shocked and saddened with his premature passing.

Habte Yakob Balicha, 45 years old, a husband and father of two small children has been key Media personality for the last decade. He has combined activism and Media management as he has tirelessly worked with the Sidama’s prominent politicians and human defenders from the land he sought refuge in South Africa.

Habte Yakob Balicha was born in Sidama’s Hula district from his father Yakob Balicha and from his mother Woqinesh Simano 45 years ago. It has been such devastating news to his young family, the wider Sidama nation and the supporters of the Sidama cause.

We are fully aware that the death of innocents in their thousands became a cheap propaganda discourse in Ethiopia since the current PM and his Neftegna advisers controlled Ethiopia and embarked on a full scale war with the Oromo, Tigray and Benshangul nations after previously massacring thousands elsewhere including in Sidama since April 2018. We, the Sidama as the rest of nations and peoples in Ethiopia value humanity therefore when death takes away from us any person including the kinds of prominent personalities like Habte, our sorrow is deep, this is why we are deeply shocked and saddened by the passing of an iconic Sidama media personality Habte Yacob.

Habte always shared with me and the other Sidama’s prominent personalities about the need to have for the Sidama nation an independent Media and finally he became one of the founders of the Sidma Media Network (SMN) that he has handled the digital aspect of the production until the date of his illness couple of weeks ago. The SMN that has been incepted by prominent Sidama personalities has contributed to the success of the Sidama’s quest for national statehood in which Habte’s role in Media production has been huge.

The Media managed by Habte was the voice of the Sidama nation when the EPRDF regime has silenced all alternative voices in Sidama land and beyond. Using social media platforms and the Sidama Heritage Network, he has played a crucial role with the rest of the Sidama diaspora in facilitating the nation's struggle for self-determination. With the support of and in consultation with the Sidama Diaspora, Habte has started the Sidama TV in collaboration with the Oromia Media Network (OMN) which has facilitated the establishment of the Sidama Media Network (SMN). He was one of the key founding members of SMN.

Millions of Sidamas witness that Habte has dedicated his full time and energy for the cause of the Sidama and the rest of the subjugated nations in Ethiopia until his last breath on earth. Although excruciatingly painful, his life is being cut short leaving very young kids behind. His family and the nation at large lost one of its honourable sons whose belief has been unshakable.

He will be truly and deeply missed although his legacy remains for generations to come.

You May Rest in Eternal Peace as the Sidama’s remaining True Ejjeetto Fight for the rights of your beloved nation.

January 08, 2021