Opposition party threatens to sue the government over the state of emergency

Oromo Federalist Congress rejects the state of emergency; vows to take the government to court

Merera Gudina _ Oromo Federalist Congress
Merera Gudina
Photo source : VOA Amharic

borkena
March 6, 2018

Oromo Federalist Congress, the largest ethnic-based political party in Ethiopia whose chairman and secretary, Merera Gudina(pictured above) and Bekele Gerba respectively, are released from prison recently is threatening to sue the government over the state of emergency whose approval in the Ethiopian parliament turned out to be controversial.

In a statement, the party issued today, the party stated that peace, stability, and unity of the country has become a grave concern after the state of emergency decree, which came a day after Hailemariam Desalegn resigned as prime minister and ruling coalition party chairman.

The party, says the statement, rejects the decree because of the situation under which it came and due to procedural flaws and outright illegality of the process that led to its approval, apparently in the parliament.

Last week, speaker of the house, Abadula Gemeda, appeared on state television to apologize for what he called his own error in calculating the vote for and against the decree at the parliament. His apology came days after video footage of the parliamentary session that approved the state of emergency indicated that the voting process was fraudulent.

Oromo Federalist Congress asserted in its statement that the ruling coalition, Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) will be responsible for the infringement of the rule of law and death of civilians since the state of emergency was declared.

For the party, the declaration of the marshal law violates the rule of law in the country which is theoretically hinged on the constitution of the country. Many argue that the regime in power violated article 93 of the constitution when declaring the state of emergency.

Oromo Federalist Congress called on supporters and the public at large to defy the state of emergency.Three days of strike, which mainly take a form of stay at home protest, is underway in many towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia since yesterday. But this protest was called by activists in the cyber world, not by Oromo Federalist Congress.

Towns adjacent to Addis Ababa came to a standstill as a result of the protest and mobility to and from the capital is restricted. Residents of Addis Ababa are saying that they have started to see defense forces roaming in the city.

Although what government hoped to achieve with the state of emergency, from what it said, was to restore stability to effect “business as usual” situation, the decree actually brought about the opposite of it; more protest.

The United States embassy in Addis Ababa expressed that it “strongly disagree” with the state of emergency while the European Union advised the government to resolve the crisis in the country through dialogue with stakeholders and make the duration of the state of emergency very brief.

After twenty-seven years of TPLF dominated Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) rule, Ethiopians across the country are sending the message that maintaining the status quo is impossible. The regime rejected the call for national dialogue with all stakeholders.




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