Workneh Gebeyehu says internet problem not related to security or government imposed restriction
A diplomat posed what appears to be an investigative question to Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister, Workneh Gebebeyu, in connection with internet problem during a diplomatic briefing in the capital Addis Ababa today.
While admitting internet problem in the capital, Workneh Gebeyehu claimed that issue is related to capacity to provide internet access rather than imposed restriction and security-related matter.
On the other hand, citizens report in social media indicates that there is a problem in accessing certain Ethiopian websites and users have to use a proxy server to access news and information.
The government has a track record of imposing restriction on social media use and restricting internet access whenever a protest breaks out in the country. Normally, govenment millions of dollars in internet monitoring and spying on activists and social media users.
Foreign Affairs ministery organized the diplomatic briefing so as to update diplomats and representatives of international organizations based in Addis Ababa on the situation of the country.
Ethiopia has seen a re-surge of widespread protest across many towns in the Oromo region and a large scale ethnic-based conflict in the Somali -Oromo region and ethnic cleansing like moves in some regions in Oromia and Benshangul Gumuz region.
Workneh Gebeyehu told the diplomats that what unfolded in recent weeks in Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia is “contradictory to longstanding ties” between Ethiopian people and against “democratic ethno-nationalism” , and that his government is working to resolve the conflict “peacefully”
Yet again, he claimed that the recent ethnic violences were instigated by “by rent-seeking groups who wanted to take advantage of minor conflicts and that the government has been working to dismantle wrongdoings along the two regional states border…” as cited by Chinese news source Xinhua An “investigation” is underway to identify culprits.
Xinhua cited Workneh Gebeyehu as saying “Once the investigation of the Commission is completed, the government will take action in accordance with relevant laws of the state on perpetrators of the recent killings and displacement”
However, the narrative from opposition and activists regarding the conflict is different. They rather see that government, specifically Tigray People’s Liberation Front, instigated the conflicts as part of an effort to consolidate itself through reckless divide and rule policy.
Those who criticize the government on an ideological ground question that if the government thinks that Ethiopian people lave a longstanding tie, why it indulged for so long in a propaganda campaign to incite one group of Ethiopians against the other.
The ethnic-based federalism itself is criticized as a recipe for ceaseless conflict. Pundits often point to post-genocide Rwandan model in dealing with the dangers of ethnic politics – constitutionally outlawing ethnic based political radicalization and party and lay a strong constitutional foundation for the unity of the country.
Current constitution of Ethiopia not only divided the country into ethnic-based federal structure but has also granted “people’s, nations and nationalities” a right for “self-determination up to and including secession.”
Cover Photo: Screenshot from EBC Video
Video Credit: EBC
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