Ethiopian PM says “we will clean gov’t structures from counter-reform forces”

Ethiopian opposition parties urged the government to exploit constitutional mandate to enforce the rule of law in the interest of ensuring peace and security

July 29, 2020 

Ethiopian prime minister met with opposition groups in the country on Wednesday in the capital Addis Ababa.  During the meeting he said that counter-reforms forces and corrupt elements within the government structure will continue to be purged.

The office of the Prime Minister released a statement regarding the meeting with the opposition which it said is a continuation of consultations initiated in 2018.

According to the statement, the meeting focused on two agenda times: current affairs in the areas of peace, security, and development, and the way forward on political dialogue on matters related to national issues. 

Participating opposition political parties have reportedly raised issues of concern in connection with Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the campaign to reverse the spread of coronavirus disease, the security situation in the country, and election. 

On the issue of peace and security, opposition parties emphasized the need to check government structures to get rid of extremists with their own agenda and forces that seem to support the previous administration. They want the government to tap into the constitutional mandate to enforce the rule of law by holding destabilizing forces accountable.

Well over 40 government officials in the Oromo region of Ethiopia were arrested in connection with the massacre of over 200 innocent citizens following the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa in early July of this year. Thousands of residential Houses and businesses were also burned. The extent of the destruction could have been reduced had the law enforcement bodies and government officials responded to the security problem within a reasonable time, according to activists and political observers who expressed their views on social media. 

Prime Minister Ahmed affirmed, as disclosed by the office of the Prime Minister, that “the internal cleaning process will continue, and institutional bottlenecks gradually unlocked.” 

The issue of “politicians” in the opposition quarter who are arrested in connection with the massacre and destruction of property came up too. The government position is that politicians who are involved in orchestrating the violence and massacre will not be free from being held responsible for their actions. As reported earlier, several senior members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (including Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba), and some members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) leadership are arrested following the massacre in Oromo region of Ethiopia.

However, the security situation does not seem to be totally under control in and outside of the region. Two more security incidents are reported in two different regions after the Ethiopian government claimed that it has controlled the security situation. In the Guba district of Benishangul Gumuz area, where the GERD dam is located, at least 14 people have been killed in the past two days. A few days before that at least 15 people were killed in Konso area, South Ethiopia. 

The national election, which the House of Federation postponed until after nine months to one year after the coronavirus pandemic is no longer considered a threat, is also discussed. Opposition parties opposed what they called unconstitutional and unilateral action by Tigray regional states. The region is organizing elections despite the House Federation extending the terms of the regional House of Representatives until after coronavirus. 

While agreeing that actions of the Tigray regional state in connection with the election are unconstitutional, Abiy Ahmed said that the Federal government will not take military action. He also talked about it during an interview with state media earlier this week. 

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