FROM THE EDITOR
Change In Ministers But No Change In Policy; The Crisis Will Continue
Nov 2, 2016
On Tuesday October 31, 2016, the PM Hailemariam of Ethiopia appointed 21 ministers to his new cabinet. This happens in the mildest of the popular protest in the country in Oromiya, Amhara regions, as well as in the south for the last 12 continuous months and by Ethiopian Muslims for over 4 years.
The main demand of the population has been about respect for freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, against the interference of the government in religious affirms , against the ethnic domination , against displacement of farmers, repression of identity, the absolute domination of the political space by the ruling TPLF led EPRDF etc. Basically, the people have lost confidence in the 25 years rule of the TPLF led EPRDF.
Instead of answering any of this public demand, the government is now involved in a superficial change. None of the repressive policies of the government have changed. Freedom of expression is not respected, no demonstration is allowed, infact the entire country is under state of emergency. Non of the repressive laws such as the Charities and associations act that has obliterated the independent civil society , the anti terrorism act, whci has been used to jail opposition leaders, journalists etc has been changed.
There is no reform in the country’s justice system; the judiciary continues to be the political arm of the ruling TPLF led government. The government continues to refuse to sit down with the opposition to address the root causes of the current unrest in the spirit of national dialogue and reconciliation. Infact, the attorney general makes mockery of the oppositions call for national dialogue calling it “an attempt to seize power”. Not a single political prisoner has been released. To the contrary, in the last three months alone, over 10 thousand have been detained in horrible conditions; political leaders such as Bekele Gerba are jailed.
As the history of many other similar repressive governments has shown, if there is no justice there will be no peace. This is not what Ethiopia needs now. This is not helpful for a country that should attract investment, tourism. The truth is no serious investor will be attracted to pour millions of dollars while the fundamentals in Ethiopia show that political stability is a farfetched illusion.
In general, it appears that the government is resorting back to its usual way of neglecting the peoples demand and repressing any and all forms of descent and peaceful protest. This is a serious mistake that should be condemned by all who wants to see peaceful resolution to the protest in Ethiopia. We at SOCEPP Canada are very concerned that the regimes reluctance to address the peoples demand immediately will lead to further public resentment, protest and instability in the country.