Oromo Ethiopian Runner Claims Discrimination Ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games

Long-distance runner Mohamed Kemal explains to NPR how his Oromo ethnicity has allegedly made him a target of discrimination.

Despite the Oromo people comprising nearly 50 percent of Ethiopia’s population, they have been the target of discrimination in many facets of lifefrom education to employment to land seizures and arrests. Tensions reached a boiling last November when the country’s largest ethnic group took to the streets to protest their mistreatment led by the ruling party Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.

It’s against this backdrop of the Oromo protests that NPR reports that 23-year-old Mohamed Kemal, who is Oromo, alleges he has been discriminated against ahead of the 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Ethiopia also announced its national team will be minus its three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele, which means the country could cede victories in the five and 10K contests to Kenya (both countries usually win medals in these middle-distance races). Some have considered Bekele’s exclusion as another example of the Oromo people’s systematic marginalization.

Kemal tells NPR that before a half marathon in 2014 where he finished 86th—placing him in Ethiopia’s top 100 runners for that year—one of the coaches of his running club suggested fixing the race.

“We have been told to make others too tired, but, at the finishing, to give the chance for the Tigrinya,” the Ethiopian runner explains through an interpreter.

Unable to stomach that his Oromo ethnicity means paying bribes and missing out on international sponsorships, Kemal refused to throw the race. The coach was furious, and threatened to ban Kemal from future contention.

Once the Oromo protests erupted, Kemal found himself among the thousands arrested. After his release from jail, he fled to neighboring Kenya, giving up his promising running career.

Kemal’s exile makes watching this summer’s Olympic games complicated. On one hand, he wishes to root for friends and familiar faces from home. But on the other, doing so, means validating what he suggests is Ethiopia’s corrupt running program.

Have a listen to NPR’s story about Oromo Ethiopian long-distance runner Mohamed Kemal below.

Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video)

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