August 10, 2016
Regime in Ethiopia is resorting to religion as a tool in pursuit of soft power to control the wave of uprisings across the country which claimed hundreds of civilian lives just in recent weeks only.
State television ( watch video above) aired views from religious leaders of the various religious institutions. Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim leaders are seen talking about the need “to present demands peacefully.” From videos of popular protests released by activists in social media, none of the protest movements appear to be totally peaceful. Government ordered forceful action miscalculating that it would suppress the movement. As it turns out, it proved to be rather spreading to the parts of Ethiopia where there was no protest.
While the regime is pursuing soft power, it is concomitantly mounting mass crackdown in the parts of Ethiopia that experienced protest against government. Thousands are believed to be taken to undisclosed detention centers.
@zborkena this shows the junta is terrified.
— Adebabay (@MyAdebabay) August 10, 2016
In North Western Ethiopia, where there was a more stern and confrontational resistance, as activists describe it, regime mobilized church leaders for outreach work to calm the tense situation and they appear to be unsuccessful.
As in any other institutions and agencies, religious institutions in Ethiopia are under the control of the regime in power.
In fact, Ethiopian Muslims have been resisting government intervention in religious affairs for more than three years now. To that effect, they elected committee members to pursue matters pertaining to the struggle to liberate their faith from being subservient to political leaders within the ruling Tigray People Liberation Front. The result, predictably, was that all the committee members were thrown to prison, tortured and chared with “terrorism.” They are still languishing in prison after horrifying tortures.
Ethiopian church is not an exception. Some observers go to the extent of boldly asserting that the Ethiopian church is under total control the ruling party and some of the church leaders are even political cadres themselves.
It is questionable, if at all, if “religion” and “religious leaders” will be effective tools for the regime in power as a soft power to suppress the ongoing popular demand.