By Andualem Sisay Gessesse – Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed calls of members of the opposition groups including those labeled by the parliament as terrorists to comeback home for peaceful political dialogue.
Speaking to the Members Parliament at the House of Peoples’ Representative in Addis Ababa on Monday, Prime Minister calls on the leaders and members of the Ginbot 7, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which were labeled as terrorist groups by the national parliament.
“For those of you, who are based in Eritrea, what you are engaged in [trying to overthrow the regime through arm struggle] is an old fashion, it is not useful for our Ethiopia…War is an outdated, old fashioned practice…Stop and come back home…I urge you to come and engage in peaceful dialogue,” he said, stressing that reconciliation and forgiveness are key to take the country out of the current crisis.
Government involvement in terrorism
Responding to the question raised with regards to the danger of releasing from prison the people charged as terrorists, the Premier said that forgiveness includes not only for those people but also for the police and the officials who were engaged in torturing prisoners.
“…The people had every reason to send us to jail for committing terrorism,” he said, indicating that the people of Ethiopia has chosen to forgive the evil deeds of the regime.
“Terrorism includes trying to stay on power through violation of the constitution. Terrorism also includes trying to take power through illegally. … Everyone has to respect the constitution…The constitution doesn’t say we should keep prisoners in darkrooms, torture and disable them… Our involvement in such acts is by itself committing terrorism,” he said.
Ethiopia has been led by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling coalition with four member parties has been on power since the May 1991 overthrow of the Marxist Derg Regime.
The regime has been criticized by many international rights groups for silencing independent voices including the media civil societies and opposition members introducing laws such as anti-terrorism, new charities and telecom fraud and cyber security laws, among others.
Sabotage against reform
The regime, which has been dominated by the TPLF, has also been criticized for engaging in massive corruption, stealing wealth the nation systematically as well as advancing ethnic-based and political affiliation business networks, among others.
Following the appointment of the 41 years old new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed three months ago, the regime still led by the EPRDF has been engaged in massive reforms. The reform includes releasing of thousands of prisoners across the nation and neighboring countries including, Sudan, Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, among others; reshuffling and appointment of new officials in different ministries.
The sacking of former officials and reshuffle also include the military, intelligence and police forces, which are often criticized as being dominated by one of the four member parties of the coalition – the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), which spearhead the struggle against the Derg Regime.
In his statement yesterday the new prime minister who came to power after fierce struggle within the coalition warned the individuals and groups who trying to sabotage his reform by causing tribal conflicts in different parts of the country.
“Stealing and keeping quite is one thing. The additional headache is seeing these people engaged in sabotage as if we don’t know their robbery,” Prime Minister Abiy said, indicating that his regime is collecting evidences from different countries to recover the stolen wealth of the nation and to open charges against those involved.