Meaza Ashenafi insinuation on bringing criminals in Tigray to justice turns out to be playing card for ethnic-Tigray nationalists

Meaza Ashenafi insinuation on Defense Force intervention to capture criminals in Tigray region, in northern Ethiopia, became a political playing card for TPLF.

Meaza Ashenafi - Ethiopia
Woizero Meaza Ashenafi, president of the Supreme Court of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

borkena
August 5, 2019
Updated on August 6, 2019

Meaza Ashenafi is among the few women who came to one of the top government offices when prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s government dealth with gender imbalance in governance position. She became president of the Supreme Court of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

When she was appointed to the position in November 2018, she pledged to make restoring public trust in the judiciary as her key priority areas.

Despite some reform measures in that area, the court faced the challenges of holding criminals accountable – especially criminals who are believed to be hiding in Tigray region of Ethiopia. 

This week during a forum on justice week, Meaza Ashenafi remarked to a question related to disobeying court orders. She said during a nation-building process all measures will be taken so as to enforce the rule of law and she cited a case in the history of the United States of America under the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower when a defense force had to be deployed to enforce the rule of law.

It is apparent that the question implied Tigray regions stand not to cooperate with the Federal government to hand over criminals. However, Meaza Ashenafi did not mention Tigray and is unclear if she meant to point a finger to Tigray.

But her remarks has become very controversial and an important playing card for Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an ethnic Tigray organization governing the region to mobilize much-needed support in Tigray by way of projecting a threat against Tigray.

As well, pro- TPLF activists on social media are exploiting her remarks as evidence that the Federal government could declare war. Some activists are already writing something that sounds like a warmonger. 

Daniel Berhane, a pro-TPLF activist, and owner of HornAffairs. On August 3, he wrote ” Meaza Ashenafi and her benefactors should learn from history.No external power defeated Tigray in history. Don’t overestimate your temporary advantage. We will retaliate. We have a long memory. The north remembers.” 

Other Pro- TPLF activists are saying that they have lost confidence in Meaza Ashenafi as Federal courts President.  Someone who identified himself as Tilahun Kassaye on Facebook “We have no a slight of confidence left on Meaza Ashenafi, a proponent of war against own citizens, heading the Office of the Supreme Court of Ethiopia! She has publicly violated the solemn swearing she committed to uphold the constitution and the provisions thereof. She owes our people an immediate apology and graceful resignation before further deterioration of the honour we attach to the Office! Nothing else can remedy the injury she has inflicted to our people and the good office!”

So far the Federal Defense Force has intervened in Amhara, Somali, South Ethiopia and Oromo region of Ethiopia, at least once, to restore law and order as the safety, security, and property of citizens in some parts of the above-mentioned regions became risky. 

But in all of these “interventions,” the Federal regions were cooperative and they apparently initiated deployment of the Federal Force. 

That is not the case with Tigray. Several crime suspects including former chief of intelligence Getachew Assefa are believed to be in the region and several court orders have gone unanswered. 

It is that very situation which seems to have convinced the Federal court president that it is only the Defense force that can do something about bringing criminals in Tigray to justice. 



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