Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Warns Opposition Leaders, explained postponed election

While warning opposition groups that are calling for the formation of transitional government, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy has also a message for TPLF -“those who want to conduct election compel government to take actions”

Ethiopian Prime Minister
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaking about postponed election . Photo : EBC news video screenshot

By Bernabas Shiferaw
May 7, 2020

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has spoken on matters concerning the government’s decision to postpone the upcoming election in a 31 minute video released today. In the press release, the prime minister has explained the process that led to the parliament requesting for interpretation of articles of the constitution with the aim of postponing the election. He has also mentioned alternatives put forward by other stakeholders and severely criticized some of these alternatives. 

The prime minister started his speech by reminding the public of the announcement the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) made a month ago, saying it cannot hold elections in August as per the original schedule due to the threat of COVID-19 and measures taken to prevent its spread. He complimented this with examples of the upcoming elections in Poland, the 2020 Olympics and a planned expo in Dubai, all of which have been postponed due to COVID-19. 

According to him, following NEBE’s announcement, the government commissioned three teams of lawyers, unknown to each other, to come up with legal alternatives of postponing the election. Once all three teams had done their own home works independently, they were then made to sit down together and discuss their findings. The outcome of the discussion was a set of four legal alternatives that would enable the government to postpone the election beyond the end of its current term. And among these, the alternative of “requesting interpretation of some articles of the constitution from the House of Federation” was ratified by the parliament. 

The Prime Minister then went on to review options presented by opposition leaders, lawyers and other stakeholders regarding the matter, which he grouped into three broad categories. 

The first of these categories is ‘those who put forward legal alternatives other than interpretation of articles of the constitution’. The Prime Minister spoke positively about this set of individuals and organizations. He said that their holding on to legal grounds is admirable, and thanked them “for their inputs.”

He then spoke somewhat at length, about the alternative the government has adopted and defended it against criticisms that have been presented against it. He mentioned instances of constitutional interpretation in cases where there was no mention in the constitution of the matter at hand in South Africa, Columbia, and the USA. 

He criticized those who maintain that there is no legal way around the problem while “so many experienced lawyers” have maintained the contrary. He said “this only reveals their wishes,” and that their desire is to appear as saviors once the constitution has been deemed to be without a way out of this dilemma. 

Regarding the question raised about the neutrality of the Prosperity-dominated House of Federation, which has the last say in the matter and is also mandated to organize the “Council of Constitutional Inquiries,” he defended the charges by claiming the Council of Constitutional Inquiries is a neutral body and the House of Federation is “not led” by Prosperity, seemingly referring to its Speaker – Ms. Keria Abraham who is a member of the TPLF. He also emphasized the need to “respect institutions” which he said, will help us develop the culture of constitutionalism, mentioning the civil rights movement as an example. He also warned that “interpretation of the constitution should be left to lawyers.”

He also defended his government and his party against criticisms of “not having been elected through a free and fair election” and thus is not entitled to govern the country even now and will have no authority whatsoever once this term ends. His defense is (he chose not to discuss the circumstances of the last election) that his government is practically governing the country, signing international agreements, allocating and administering budget etc. and so is responsible for the country’s well being

Subsequently, he took time to speak against and harshly criticize the third category of individuals and organizations that suggest the establishment of a transitional government once the term of the current government expires.  In the first place, he said, such a solution is neither legal nor constitutional. He went on to say the motive behind such a suggestion is “lust for power.” He said there is no reason for “an elected government to share power” with political parties that have no tested acceptance among the people. He said his party has many members and supporters all over the country and a countrywide presence.  

Mentioning the experience of South Africa, he explained that transitional governments are established when the existing government is either a military government or a government on the verge of collapse. But, he said, his party is not in either of the two circumstances and is, in fact, striding with a newly found strength. He underlined that the country is going through, not a revolution, but a reform. 

In conclusion, he warned those who attempt to take hold of power through illegal means. Apparently referring to the TPLF, which has announced its decision to hold election  as per the original schedule despite the parliament’s decision, he said, “we will be forced to take action against those who attempt to hold fake elections.” He also said, (again) in an apparent reference to other opposition leaders, “We will not tolerate those who threaten to incite violence and unrest seeking power without elections.”  



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5 Responses to "Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Warns Opposition Leaders, explained postponed election"

  1. Ittu Aba Farda   May 7, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    This visionary PM is absolutely right. As of late these bigots and ‘republic fiefdom’ dreamers are seen intensifying their attacks including personal on him. You can see them ranting on their playground which seems to being fed with the latest including confidential matter by insiders. They don’t hide their ultimate wishes that they want him dead, dead by whatever means including by the current deadly virus COVID-19. You just watch!!! One of these days their insiders will try to arrest one of these day dreamers so to incite region wide riots, to start a perfect storm. They will then fish in the troubled waters. We will hear them loud mouthing with ‘my/our people is not left with any other alternatives but to defend itself by whatever means necessary including militarily. You just watch. These bigots are desperate because every scheme they have deployed have failed and failed so miserably. For them they have come to a point that it is now or bust.
    The entire world is now on a war footing with an unseen deadly enemy and the situation in the old country ain’t no different. It has no appetite for crying wolf loud mouths!!! The entire country is scared and shaken witless by the rampaging pandemic. The situation resembles the situation here the USA during the WWII years 1941-45. It is high time for everyone to blunt his/her tongue responsibly. This young PM should also be extra careful not to play into the traps of these bigots. These are not run of the mill human/democratic rights activists anymore but outright hate mongering bigots. They are one-heck of conniving smart alecks. They don’t even have an iota of self respects when they were scavenging at the dumpsites overseas including the halls at Al-Qahirah. They have enriched themselves beyond their wildest expectations. Get lost!!!

    Reply
    • የኢትዮጵያ ወንጌል አማኞች አብያተ ክርስቲያናት ካውንስል   May 8, 2020 at 7:11 am

      Ittu A.

      Can you please tell us the names and the specific actions of these people you keep referring as “Bigots” ?
      Defense Minister Lemma ?
      Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael ?
      Others?

      If you gave us some more clarification it would help us understand your comments better.
      If you got no names it would be better if we at least get some clue whether they are Ethiopian opposition politicians , other foreigners or one of the people known as the “BANDAS ” within Prosperity Party who were mentioned by the young PM Abiy recently ?

      Reply
      • Ittu Aba Farda   May 9, 2020 at 6:40 pm

        How do you even dare to associate the unwavering patriotic Obbo Lemma bin Megersa with the word ‘bigot’? How? How? Without his courageous and brilliant internal battle that clobbered the despots who were busy mowing down unarmed demonstrators they would still be blowing their dragon breaths over the shoulders those citizens. Without his persistent deviation from heavy handedness and cleverly forming overwhelming and strong internal opposition those prisoners who were freed after the ejection of those ruffians they would still be rotting in filthy jails. The bloodletting would have been going unabated thus throwing the country into an abyss by now. That country owes this man heavily for what he and The Team Lemma achieved in 2018. So let’s stop mixing apples with the manchineel fruit.
        Above all if you really believe that you are not a bigot then there is nothing for you to worry about. The manner you worded you comment tells me that you were raised right by a cultured family. In regards to the term ‘bigots’ you noticed me using frequently, I have explained that in my numerous comments I have posted over the years.

        Blessings to you and your family.

        Protect yourself and stay safe from this deadly virus. Insha’Allah!!!

        Reply
  2. Worqu Belayneh   May 8, 2020 at 7:25 am

    All of what Abiye said was right on the mark. Such a good leader….hope he would keep evolving for the better of himself and Ethiopia.

    You are right about good for nothing scums trying to undermine his administration. They turn every stone and look around and inside to find ways to do that. Their leader, of course, is the now defunct TPLF whom Abiye systematically denied their grand theft of Ethiopia. TPLF and cohorts clearly seen the dark cloud facing them ahead, and they are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the calamity at the expense of the rest of Ethiopians. And don’t forget also the threat they are facing from the north as Eritreans never forget what TPLF did to them on the back of Ethiopia, be it by expelling from Ethiopia or inflicting heavy war damage. Every Eritrean had suffered as the result, and it is now time to make TPLF pay for that. I would not be surprised Eritrea to take land they have been awarded by the Hague Boundary Commission. I hope they do.

    Eritrea had suffered greatly as direct consequence of TPLF’s acts, economically, socially, and every other way one looks at it. What is coming to Tigrai is way much worse, after the hopeful separation from Ethiopia. No outlet to the sea, no resources, and no Ethiopia from which to get subsidy and steal right and left.

    Reply
  3. Agaro   May 9, 2020 at 7:26 am

    ” Interpretation of the constitution with the aim of ……the constitution is so ambiguous because it was written by sarcastic people.”

    For two years many people pointed out to PM Abiy the solution being to draft a brand new constitution rather than hold on to this broken constitution . PM Abiy spent his time writing a book about medemer while in office but he did not write an alternative constitution . Actually at many instances he defended the current constitution calling it “the best for Ethiopia” , that’s why I question the validity of this news , because I cannot imagine that Dr. PM Abiy does not know every part of the current constitution by heart and is now asking for interpretation from the parliament, even if he did not know his advisors for sure know each parts of the constitution’s meaning and would gladly explain each part in detail to him , so I don’t see a need to bring it to the parliament. Maybe he finally decided to add some words or take out some words but that is not interpretation , that is amendment which is a totally different thing .

    To think there are parts which he himself or his associates didn’t come across yet or to think he does not know the exact meaning of the words in the constitution until now is unrealistic unless he had some sudden amnesia , If it is amnesia the parliament need to come to their senses because this way, the next leader after PM Abiy going to interprate the constitution any which aim then another leader going to interprate any which aim , something that needs to be clarified.

    Reply

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