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Ethiopia : State of Emergency lifted despite continuous security problem in the country 

Ethiopians questioning as to why the state of emergency is lifted while the TPLF is attacks parts of Afar and Amhara regions 

State of emergency lifted Ethiopia
Ethiopian Parliament Building (file)

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The Ethiopian Parliament on Tuesday lifted the State of Emergency which was invoked in late November 2021 as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) controlled many areas in the Afar and Amhara regions with the aim to control supply lines and march to the capital Addis Ababa. 

Recent past experience in the country is that a state of emergency is either extended after the end date. This time it is lifted before even the end date. 

It triggered debate in the House of People’s Representative and members of the parliament had to vote on it.  63 members of the parliament voted  in opposition to the motion to lift the state of emergency while 21 abstained. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government move to lift it was a success but it is not without a political cost. 

Ethiopian activists on social media are questioning why Abiy Ahmed’s government wanted to lift the state of emergency early while the TPLF is invading again parts of Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia. 

Armed wing of Oromo People’s Liberation Front (OLF), the government calls it Shene, formed a military alliance with the TPLF as the TPLF was marching towards Addis Ababa – a move that was cut short at Debre Sina which is about 200 kilometres north of Addis Ababa.  

OLF gunmen are active in the Oromo region at times obstructing intra-regional mobility and at times massacring civilians as they please with support from elements within the administrative structure in the region. 

The TPLF has already displaced over 300,000 civilians in the Afar region after it launched renewed military campaigns in the Afar region. 

It is in light of those security situations, which can not be dealt with by regular police forces, that the decision  to end the state of emergency is raising questions. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been making a series of unpopular decisions in recent months for which he is losing credibility. There were views that his decisions are influenced by the U.S. government interventions but his government has been denying it. 

In late December, his government ordered Ethiopian Forces not to pursue the TPLF forces after the latter suffered devastating defeats in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia. Few weeks later, his government ordered the release of key TPLF leaders who were captured during what his government called a law enforcement operation in the Tigray region after TPLF attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force. 

The US government has been pushing Abiy Ahmed’s government to reach a negotiated ceasefire with the TPLF and for the “release of political prisoners.”

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that Colonel Demeke Zewdu is called to Addis Ababa and there are rumours that the U.S. government wants Abiy to award Wolkait, part of north Gondar which the TPLF incorporated to Tigray in 1991, to the TPLF. If that happens, the prospect of peace in the region is unlikely. 

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