If members of Ethiopian parliament vote the way TPLF wants them to, it could significantly damage the popular movement. And to do otherwise, they will have to stand firm against TPLF bully.
When the Ethiopian parliament meets tomorrow for first time since what was meant to be a month long recess, it will have a tough choice to make.
On February 16, that is a day after Hailemariam Desalegne resigned, the regime which is now essentially disguised as “Command Post” decreed a state of emergency (SoE). Based on reports from Ethiopian media outlets based abroad,and they have sources in Ethiopia, government loyal forces have killed nearly a dozen people and many more are wounded. Of course, there have been killings before but the SoE sort of legalized it by giving security forces to right take any measure including extrajudicial killings.
The Ethiopian parliament, and there is no single opposition voice in it currently, does not have a reputation as a relevant check and balance in the history of its existence in t. Mostly, it is seen as rubber stamps to the regime in power but it didn’t even play that role in connection with the declaration of SoE nearly two weeks ago.
The Command Post passed a directive that members of parliament terminate their recess for an emergency meeting tomorrow and the agenda is to “discuss” and approve the SoE.
However, there does not seem to be certainty on the part of the regime on grounds that the parliament might defy the role of rubber stamps this time around.According to Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT),which cited its sources in the country, senior military and intelligence officers are intimidating members of parliament not to vote against the SoE. The regime is painting an image of collapse of state power and anarchy if the SoE is not approved.
Voices in the opposition quarter,however,argue that the SoE is about saving the regime’s power and could result in anarchy and possible civil war. For that reason, activists,mostly based abroad, have been campaigning to canvass members of the parliament to vote against the SoE. Some have gone to the extent of posting the cellular phone numbers of members of parliament in online platforms and calling for a phonathon campaign to solicit support not to vote for the SoE. A “no” vote to the SoE by members of parliament is equated with standing with the right side of history. On the other hand, if the MPs voted “Yes” the member parties within the ruling coalition, especially Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) could completely lose the little support they gained in the course of popular protest in the last three years.
There are however voices who seem to see a merit in the SoE provided that it is used briefly, just like what the European Union recommended in its latest statement. Kebour Ghenna Desta, economist by profession and former president of Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce ,and currently the ED of Initiative Africa, poses the question “Will the state of emergency bring an end to the crisis?” and he answers it himself :
- When you have a government trying to bring confidence through security measures, you know it’s fragile, therefore doomed. A state of insecurity for a country is unforgiving: one state of emergency, and then a second within a year will definitely chase investors, causing a death spiral and even bankruptcy to the economy. So keep it for the shortest period (really short) and open the door for a wider dialogue with opposition parties, civil society, elders, women, youth and others to put in place the foundation for a 21st century Ethiopia.”
For TPLF, the problem with national dialogue is that it could bring about change in the interest of Ethiopians and that may mean loss of power to dictate on the fate of Ethiopians and an end to organized plunder of resources from the “double digit growing economy” where millions of people have problem to secure a meal a day. There seem to be a consensus among analysts in the opposition that TPLF will go to the extent dragging Ethiopia to civil war for the sake of averting losing control over Ethiopia. TPLF supporters, who have created wealth taking the advantage of TPLF corrupt government, in the country and abroad are calling for “serious measure” to “save Ethiopia” while a section of its supporters are calling for that TPLF should rather focus on Tigray and prepare it for secession which what the political program of TPLF initially before taking power in Addis Ababa in 1991.
In other words, TPLF is struggling against the reality that Ethiopia will never be the same again for it and the reality that the only way forward is justice and equality for Ethiopians and the courage to accept that Ethiopians have every right to desire for systemic change irrespective of what happens to TPLF power.
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