German chancellor Angela Merkel is on a trip to Africa -apparently to discuss migration and terrorism. Mali, Niger and Ethiopia are the countries that she is visiting.
Ethiopia is her last destination if she plans not to cancel it due to the state of emergency that went into effect starting yesterday.
State of emergency was declared on grounds that, says prime minister Hailemariam Desalegne, security and stability in Ethiopia deteriorated. Ethiopia is facing unprecedented threat, in his words.
Ethiopian local newspaper, Ethiopian Reporter, reported that Amgela Merkel turned down invitation to speak at the Ethiopian parliament during her visit. Reason? Merkel does not see, according to the report, a meaning in speaking to the Ethiopian Parliament since it is entirely controlled by one party. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the parliament when he visited Ethiopia in July of this year.
Angela Merkel is expected to arrive in Ethiopia on Monday – in the evening. During her stay, she will visit the African Union in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa -among other things.
As well, she will be speaking with government officials including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne. Talks will focus on human rights particularly use of excessive forces by government security against unarmed protesters. In a matter of one year, more than 1000 civilians are killed across the country.
What makes Chancellor Merkel’ s visit to Ethiopia unique is that she will also be talking to opposition party figures and civic society leaders – perhaps an indication of emphasis she placed on human rights issue in Ethiopia. Many political activists and journalists are thrown to prison on trumped up charges “terrorism” – a topic that she is expected to talk about.
Last month,Merkel took a glance,from her office balcony, at Ethiopian Protesters who were demanding the government of Germany to condemn the killings of civilians in Ethiopia. Germany has been one of the donors to Ethiopia for a long time now and has development projects in the country.
This is not her first visit to Africa.