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Don’t underestimate Ethiopia’s crisis, Mail & Guardian February 23, 2018

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Oppressed: Oromo mourn the hundreds of people killed by Ethiopia’s security forces in the 2016 Irreecha massacre (Tiksa Negeri, Reuters)
Oppressed: Oromo mourn the hundreds of people killed by Ethiopia’s security forces in the 2016 Irreecha massacre (Tiksa Negeri, Reuters)

For the past four years, ever since the first serious rumblings of discontent began, it has been difficult to appreciate the scale of the political crisis in Ethiopia.

Africa’s second-most populous country maintains an extraordinarily tight grip on information. Local journalists are routinely harassed, intimidated and censored, and foreign journalists are closely watched and prevented from going anywhere too sensitive. Local nongovernmental organisations and opposition parties operate under similar restrictions: under draconian laws, NGOs must tow the government line or risk losing their operating licences; opposition sympathisers are locked up in their thousands.

The international NGOs and think-tanks that operate in Ethiopia are complicit in maintaining the veil of silence. Many agree to refrain from any criticism of the Ethiopian regime in exchange for unfettered access to the African Union, which is based in Addis Ababa. Others turn a blind eye to the government’s routine human rights abuses because of its relatively good record on delivering socioeconomic development — although that record has been called into question by the sheer volume of protest action over the past few years.

In this climate, building an accurate picture of the unrest — and getting any of the usual suspects in the international community to raise the alarm — becomes nearly impossible.

There were plenty of clues, however, that not all was right. The odd massacre made international headlines — such as the dozens, perhaps hundreds, mowed down by security forces at an Oromo religious festival in October 2016. Reports of co-ordinated protests across the restive Oromia and Amhara regions suggested that resistance to the regime ran far deeper and was much better co-ordinated than the government was willing to admit.

Now, the political crisis has exploded into the open, with the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn — always little more than temporary successor to Meles Zenawi, who died in 2012 — and the imposition of Ethiopia’s second state of emergency in under two years.

This new state of emergency, valid for six months pending parliamentary approval, will give sweeping powers of search and arrest to the security forces and restrict freedom of movement, protest and association. It gives licence for another crackdown on all forms of political opposition.

In this context, it is clear that recent political reform, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners, was not a symptom of more progressive policies but the desperate act of a government increasingly fearful for its very survival.

But the rapturous reception received by the freed opposition leaders, especially the Oromo Federalist Congress’s Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba, seems to have convinced the hardliners in the country’s ruling coalition to remove the velvet glove and revert to the iron fist, which has served the regime so well for so long.

Now the country waits to see who will replace Desalegn. In another bid to placate protesters, it is almost certain to be someone from the Oromo region, either Lemma Megersa or Abiy Ahmed — both senior officials in the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organisation, one of the four ethnically based parties that make up the ruling coalition. The Oromos are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group but have been long marginalised both economically and politically.

Somehow, the new prime minister will have to find a way to balance the demands of the protesters, who will expect immediate, demonstrable change, with the needs of the powerful securocrats in the ruling coalition who are manoeuvring for their own political futures, especially senior figures in the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, who have long monopolised power and are not anxious to share.

“Whoever ascends to the top post will have much to prove but they should begin by following the advice of the United States embassy in Addis Ababa, which warned recently that the answer to growing unrest is ‘greater freedom, not less’,” wrote Mohammed Ademo, founder and editor of OPride.com, for African Arguments. “Indeed, Ethiopia sorely needs national reconciliation and an all-inclusive dialogue, and the next leader must act swiftly to make good on pledges of widening the democratic space.”

The alternative is too frightening to contemplate.

“[The ruling coalition] is at a historic crossroads and the options are clear. It can choose to genuinely reform or it can implode under the weight of a bitter power struggle and popular discontent,” said Ademo.

Meles ZenawiHailemariam DesalegnEthiopiaAfrican UnionOromo Liberation Front


Related (Oromian Economist findings):

Ethiopia: New State of Emergency Risks Renewed Abuses

Overbroad, Vague Provisions Undercut Rights,  HRW

Does Ethiopia’s New State of Emergency Dash Hopes for Reform?, Human Rights Watch

‘Game Over,’ U.S. Congressman jabs Ethiopia’s TPLF, Africa News

U.S. condemns crackdown in Ethiopia as political crisis deepens

Ethiopia: Mass protests ‘rooted in country’s history’, Al Jazeera

OMN Insight: Conversation with Jawar Mohammed on Ethiopian Political Crisis (Feb 21, 2018)

የኢትዮጲያ ሕዝብ በህወሓት/ኢህአዴግ ላይ የአስቸኳይ ግዜ አዋጅ ማወጅ አለበት! 

Global community responds to Ethiopia’s political uncertainties

 Ethiopia: Final days of the TPLF regime

Where is Ethiopia heading after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation?

Ethiopia’s Great Rift

OPINION: CAN ETHIOPIA OVERCOME ITS CRISIS AND BE A NORMAL COUNTRY?

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ETHIOPIA? STATE OF EMERGENCY, PROTESTS AND POLITICAL CRISIS EXPLAINED

Ethiopia crisis needs reforms not emergency rule – E.U. warns govt

Ethiopia’s next Prime Minister

With nobody in charge, Ethiopia declares a state of emergency, The Economist

የኢትዮጲያ ሕዝብ በህወሓት/ኢህአዴግ ላይ የአስቸኳይ ግዜ አዋጅ ማወጅ አለበት! 

First a concession, then a crackdown. The ruling party’s divisions over how to respond to growing revolt are on show

«የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁ የሰብዓዊ መብቶችን ይገድባል»ጀርመን 

የጀርመን ውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር ሰላማዊ ለውጥ እና አስፈላጊ ማሻሻያ የሚያመጣው ከሚመለከታቸው የፖለቲካ አካላት ጋር አካታች እና ሰፊ ውይይት ብቻ እንደሆነ እናምናለን ብሏል። መሥሪያ ቤቱ እንዳለው እንዲሕ አይነቱ ውይይት ለኢትዮጵያ ዘላቂ ውስጣዊ ሰላም እና መረጋጋት መንገድ ይጠርጋል።

Statement of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union on the situation in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s reinstatement of state of emergency worries Sweden

Governments Call for Ethiopia to Revoke its State of Emergency

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Déjà vu: Ethiopia’s fascist regime (TPLF) again declares state of emergency to continue with its genocide. U.S. issues Ethiopia alert, warns of tricky security situation February 16, 2018

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomisttravel-warning-do-not-travel-to-ethiopia-terrorist-tplf-from-tigray-is-killing-people-and-looting-propertiesNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia

Labsiin Yeroo Hatattamaa Labsame Haggamiif Akka Ta’e Hin Ibsamne, VOA Afaan Oromo


State of emergency declared in Ethiopia amid political unrest, The Guardian

Emergency rule imposed by ruling EPRDF coalition following prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s decision to resign

Supporters of Bekele Gerba
 Supporters of Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), chant slogans to celebrate his release from prison. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Ethiopia has announced a state of emergency after prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday announced his intention to step down amid a political crisis in the country.

The ruling EPRDF coalition’s council met on Friday and decided to impose emergency rule for an unspecified period, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said. The council “came to the conclusion that imposing emergency rule would be vital to safeguarding the constitutional order of our country”. Further details are expected to be given by the defence minister on Saturday morning.

An opposition leader said earlier on Friday the ruling coalition had lost its authority and that all parties must help map the country’s future.

Mulatu Gemechu, deputy secretary of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, said Ethiopia needed a completely new political system after years of unrest. “Ethiopians now need a government that respects their rights, not one that keeps beating and killing them,” he said.

Rights advocates have frequently criticised Ethiopia’s government for mass arrests and long jail terms handed to political opponents and journalists. But more than 6,000 political prisoners have been freed since January as the government has struggled to quell discontent.

The prime minister’s resignation followed a wave of strikes and demonstrations demanding the release of more opposition leaders.



Ethiopia declares state of emergency after PM quits, JAZEERA NEWS

Ethiopia's prime minister resigned on Thursday amid widespread public protests [Tiksa Negeri/Daylife]
Ethiopia’s prime minister resigned on Thursday amid widespread public protests [Tiksa Negeri/Daylife]
Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency, a day after the country’s prime minister abruptly resigned.

The measure was announced on Friday by the Council of Ministers, the Ethiopian government’s cabinet, according to state broadcaster EBC.

Local media said the measure is effective as of Friday, but it was not immediately clear how long it would last.

Quoting an unnamed source “close to the government”, the Addis Standard newspaper reported that the Council was debating whether to make the measure span three or six months.

In August 2017, Ethiopia lifted a 10-month state of emergency imposed after hundreds of people were killed in anti-government protests demanding wider political freedoms.

Ethiopia’s Oromo and Amhara people – who make up about 61 percent of the country’s population – have staged mass demonstrations since 2015 demanding greater political inclusion and an end to human rights abuses.

Jawar Mohammed, an Oromo rights activist and head of the Oromia Media Network, said the state of emergency declaration was “unnecessary, unhelpful and unwise”.

“The best way to ensure stability at this time is not to declare state of emergency that was tested and failed,” Mohammed wrote on Facebook earlier on Friday.

Felix Horne, a Human Rights Watch researcher on Ethiopia, said during the last state of emergency – the first in 25 years – more than 20,000 people were arrested.

“Those released speak about how it has only angered them further. It didn’t work then, what does [the government] hope to achieve now?” Horne wrote on Twitter.

Political uncertainty

Hailemariam, who has sat at the helm of the Ethiopian government since 2012, announced on Thursday he would be stepping down as prime minister and head of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition.

He cited ongoing “unrest and a political crisis” in the country as major factors in his resignation, which he described as “vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy”.

Hailemariam said he will stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity, until the EPRDF and the country’s parliament accept his resignation and name a replacement.

READ MORE

Ethiopia ‘at crossroads’ after Hailemariam resignation

The executive committees of both the EPRDF and his own party within the coalition, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, have so far accepted his decision to step down.

Tsedale Lemma, editor-in-chief of Addis Standard, said there has been a political struggle within the ruling party since the death of former prime minister, Meles Zenawi, in 2012.

Appointing a new prime minister from within the Oromo community would be “a conciliatory gesture”, Lemma said.

But whomever replaces Hailemariam, she said Ethiopia “needs a very serious political surgery to heal it from its structural [disfunction]”, which would include dismantling repressive laws and strengthening the independence of the judiciary.

Mulatu Gemechu, deputy secretary of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, said earlier on Friday that Ethiopia needs a new political system after years of unrest.

“Ethiopians now need a government that respects their rights, not one that keeps beating and killing them,” he told Reuters news agency.


MORE ON ETHIOPIA from Al Jazeera

Related:

Ethiopia declares state of emergency after PM’s resignation, Reuters


OMN: GRD – የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ (LIVE) Feb 16, 2018

Regime in just declared new state of emergency for a third time since onset of in early 2015. Regime has already killed thousands, and displaced 3M+ people in Oromia. Now wants to continue the genocide campaigns.  Oromo Press


During the 10 month state of emergency in 2016-2017 over 20k were arrested for no reason. Those released speak about how it has only angered them further. It didn’t work then, what does govt hope to achieve now? Any goodwill from prisoner releases will be gone.  Felix Horne