Ethiopian opposition groups call for the government to stop the mass arrest and release those who are arrested with the pretext of attempted “coup d’etat”
July 25, 2019
Ethiopian opposition parties have been sort of supporter of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration, or at least neutral, for most of the time since he took over the office in April 2018.
That relationship is now ending and opposition parties are now acting like an opposition party rather than support group of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
Seven opposition parties that are in the process of merging have issued a statement condemning the government for violation of democratic and human rights of citizens.
Oromo Freedom Movement Party, Afar People’s Freedom Party, Afar People Justice, and Democratic Party, Ethiopian Democratic Union, Ethiopian National Unity Party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party, and All Ethiopian People Unity Party have jointly issued a statement condemning the mass arrest, intimidation, and harassment of individuals, according to a report by DW Amharic on Thursday.
Democratic and human rights violations that are being observed in the country currently testify that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is not free from its past illegal practices and that it will never be free from it, said the statement by the parties.
For the parties, the arrest of party officials and members resembles government arrests in the past which was carried out with the pretext of “terrorism.”
The parties said that mass arrest and intimidation has intensified following the June 22 killings of Amhara regional authorities in Bahir Dar and Senior Ethiopian Defense Force commanders in Addis Ababa.
They also demanded an independent and “unambiguous” investigation into the killings and disclosure of the findings to the Ethiopian people and the rest of the world.
The cases of senior regional government authorities in Amhara region who are behind bars in connection with the June 22 incident, which the government calls “coup d’état”, should be investigated and that they should be released, the parties added.
Recent killings in South Ethiopia with the pretext of demand for statehood, the status of Addis Ababa and the arrest of members and leaders of Baladera Council, a movement that is campaigning for an elected city government for Addis Ababa, are also issues that the statement discussed.
In connection with Sidama referendum-related killings, the opposition parties demanded the Ethiopian government to bring those who are responsible for it to justice.
As to the status of Addis Ababa, the seven opposition parties mentioned above stated that Addis Ababa belongs to all Ethiopians – and this is a response to Oromo Democratic Party – a party that emerged dominant after TPLF lost power in the coalition at the Federal level – which claimed that exclusive ownership of Addis Ababa belongs to ethnic Oromo.
As well, the parties called for the release of arrested members of the Baladera Council.
Meanwhile, another major opposition group in the country, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), suspended one of its executive members, Negasa Odo Dube, over a scandal related to US$22,000 which was collected from the party’s supporters in the Diaspora. According to a report by local media, Negassa was suspended after he refused to give the funds to the party. OFC’s statement, in Oromo language, that suspended Negassa was signed by Merera Gudina, the party’s chairman.
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