Home Opinion Ethiopia’s transition into a hermit police state!

Ethiopia’s transition into a hermit police state!

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Abiy Ahmed _ Ethiopia _ police state
Abiy Ahmed (Photo : file/SM)

Aba Habtu 

In the midst of global attention being primarily focused on events in the Middle East and the Red Sea, a significant shift is occurring in Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Africa. Since assuming power in 2018, Abiy Ahmed has aimed to pattern his regime after those who have ruled their citizens with an iron fist. Even his desire to be idolized and viewed as a messianic figure rivals that of some of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century, such as Idi Amin of Uganda. Recent developments further confirm his ultimate goal of turning Ethiopia into a secluded police state.

Abiy Ahmed rose to leadership in April 2018 amidst prolonged protests and unrest in Ethiopia. Initially met with hope, as he promised reforms to the authoritarian political system and human rights issues, his tenure has instead been marred by grave human rights violations and unprecedented state sanctioned war on the Amhara people. His actions have consistently demonstrated a ruthless determination to maintain power, even at the cost of countless lives.

At this point, it is important to remember to quote what one of his ministers, Daniel Kibret, replied when asked about the public uproar against the cruel displacement of millions in and around Addis Ababa: “Ethiopia is a country of 120 millions it is acceptable to have 10 millions dead to advance our policy” 

Without delving deeply into Abiy Ahmed’s fascist, assimilationist, and genocidal regime, it is crucial to highlight his audacious introduction of a bill aimed at depriving citizens of their constitutionally protected individual rights.

Recently, two bills have been proposed in the Ethiopian parliament that could strip citizens of their fundamental rights. The “Exit and Entry Control Bill” mandates that individuals must disclose their travel plans and obtain approval from the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in order to leave the country. The NISS, under the supervision of the head of Immigration Service, will have the authority to grant or deny travel requests.

The “Computer Crime and Electronic Evidence Bill” seeks to provide the regime unrestricted access to citizens’ electronic communications without the need for court authorization. This would enable the government to monitor and regulate online activities, potentially stifling dissenting voices and opposition groups.

Implications and concerns surrounding these bills highlight a stark departure from accepted norms of good governance. It is another testament that Abiy Ahmed’s regime is determined to erode citizens’ rights to movement and privacy, principles enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution and international human rights law.

These bills are introduced in addition to the genocidal war the regime has waged against the Amhara people in which millions are displaced, civil infrastructure is shattered and war crimes have become the hallmarks of the regime’s forces. Numerous reports have surfaced detailing grave human rights violations, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, committed by regime forces against the Amhara people. These atrocities span genocidal mass killings, forced displacements, sexual violence, forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and the use of starvation as weapon of war, causing immense human suffering and a humanitarian crisis.

Given Ethiopia’s role in regional organisations, its influence in the Horn of Africa region, its population size and its strategic location the shift towards hermit state poses significant threat for neighboring countries and the broader international peace. 

It is therefore the duty of the international community and concerned state and non-state actors to support the legitimate movements who are challenging Abiy Ahmed’s fascist regime. If not stopped in time and allowed to take the country into disintegration the geopolitical crisis that follows could be more than what happened after the Arab Spring.

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com

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