Ethiopian gov’t engages ethnic Oromo and ethnic Amhara opposition parties

During a meeting with ethnic Amhara and ethic Oromo opposition parties, Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed says “Those who play and those who watch the game do not seem to know the rule of the game.”

Ethiopian PM _ ethnic Oromo _ ethic Amhara
Ethiopian PM during a meeting with ethnic Amhara and ethnic Oromo opposition parties in his office. Photo credit : office of the prime minister

borkena
November 14, 2019

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government is engaging opposition parties operating in Oromo and Amhara regional states of Ethiopia. The meeting took place on Thursday in the afternoon. 

” …The meeting is organized following events that have increasingly led to the loss of lives and destruction of property in both regions. It is aimed at facilitating dialogue among political parties active in the two regions towards developing a common agenda in service to the needs and aspirations of the people,” office of the Prime Minister announced on Thursday.

Brief video shared on the office of the Prime Minister’s social media page shows Abiy Ahmed making an introductory speech as a chairperson of the meeting. 

He said that members of the ruling coalition governing the two regions held a meeting regarding worsening security problems in those regions which is leading to loss of life and destruction of property. 

The meeting with opposition parties operating in Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia, important to note that they are all ethnic-based parties, was necessitated for the same reason, according to Abiy Ahmed: worsening situation in the regions. 

It is worsening because of, in the words of PM Abiy, “themselves” and because of “other forces” as well.  

In Ethiopia, he said, “The rules of the game are not known very well. Neither those who play nor those who watch the games do not know the rules.” 

For that reason, situations that emerge in these regions are claiming lives and destroying properties. 

Abiy Ahmed also seem to have seen the meeting with opposition parties from the two regions as something in line with the principle of broadening the democratic space in the country to ensure the participation of the opposition groups. 

He described the issue as “common agenda.” Given the fact that the Abiy’s administration is engaging only ethnic based parties in two selected regions only although it is mentioned that similar meetings are necessary with other parties from other regions of the country, the meeting is mostly about crisis management in Oromo and Amhara region. 

The views of the opposition parties who attended the meeting with the prime minister are not highlighted. State and affiliated media outlets did not report about it either. 

The assessment that situations in Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia are worsening seems to make sense. In a matter of less than three weeks, a security crisis that affected residents and university students has transpired. 

76 people were barbarously massacred and 10 law enforcement bodies killed in Oromo region of Ethiopia in two days in late October after a prominent radical ethnic nationalist activist, Jawar Mohammed, wrote a facebook message in the middle of the night claiming that his life is in danger because the government is withdrawing security details from his residents. That particular violence took an ethnic and religious form. Churches were burned and personal properties of a number of non-ethnic Oromo Ethiopians who lived in the region for generations were destroyed. 

Last week, two students were killed at Woldia University in Amhara region which led to another round of violence across several universities in Oromo region of Ethiopia. 

Ethiopians have long been blaming ethnic politics for radicalizing ethnic nationalism trend. For many, the latest rounds of killings in Oromo region and Amhara are alarming signs that the situation could get worse unless the government is taking measures in the direction of ending ethnic politics. 



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