Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia warns opposition political parties who called for the establishment of transitional government and those who vowed to hold election amid COVID-19 pandemic and violating federal government decision.
He stated that some political groups are looking for excuses to come to power backdoor without being elected and are aspiring power sharing using the gap in the constitution. Because of COVID-19 pandemic, which restricted the gathering of people, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia was forced to suspend the general election previously scheduled to take place at the end of August this year. The decision is later approved by the Ethiopian Parliament. In his statement today Prime Minister Abiy mentioned that the call for transitional government by some politicians is against the constitution of the country. He indicated that his government will take necessary measures to protect the sovereignty of the country and the safety of its people.
As stated on Article 50 of the constitution of Ethiopia, which is the responsibility to protect the constitution, the Government of Ethiopia is “ready to take necessary measure to discharge this responsibility”, according to Prime Minister Abiy. During the discussion organized by the government last week, some opposition political party leaders have reflected on four legal options proposed by the government on the way forward.
Dissolving the Parliament, declaring state of emergency, revising the constitution, and seeking constitutional interpretation were the four options presented during the discussion held last week in attendance of Prime Minister Abiy.
During the discussion some political party representatives such as, Oromo Federalist Congress and Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) have suggested the need for political solution and reaching consensus with the opposition. And on the second day of the discussion held at the Prime Minister Office, it is indicated that the best legal solution on the way forward after the mandate of the ruling party expires during the first month of this October is to seek constitutional interpretation.
Following that decision the Ethiopian Parliament has passed a bill supporting the solution that seeks constitutional interpretation interpretation. Right after the decision of the Parliament, members of the opposition from OFC such as, Jawar Mohammed, who was controversial Oromo political activist whose single facebook post led to the killing of 78 civilians, from TPLF such as, Getachew Reda have claimed the decision of the government as, “unconstitutional and unacceptable”.
Mr. Getachew Reda who appeared on Tigray TV accused Prosperity Party led by Abiy Ahmed working to extend its rule by suspending election. Another controversial opposition figure, Lidetu Ayalew, who appeared on Ahadu FM Radio, this morning has been arguing the need for a transitional government led by prime Minister Abiy and the current President of the country Sahlework Zewde should be the way forward, but not constitutional interpretation as prescribed by the government.
A few days ago TPLF indicated that it has decided to start preparations to hold election in Tigray Region, which is contrary to the decision of the federal government (Ethiopian Parliament) that suspended the election. Meanwhile, the Constitution of Ethiopia states that only federal government has the power to hold election.
Prime Minister Abiy today indicated that the Federal Government of Ethiopia will be forced to take “decisive measure” against those who are planning to conduct election amidst crisis (COVID-19), among others and against the constitution because such action will put the country and its people at grave danger.
It is recalled that TPLF, has led the arms struggle for decades and came to power in 1991 forming the ruling coalition Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Since then TPLF has been dominant in the EPRDF until the reformist Prime Minister Abiy ended its dominance in the coalition in April 2018.
Since then TPLF has turned itself into an opposition party reportedly refusing to surrender its corrupt officials and hiding some of them in Tigray Region.
Finally a few months ago it has declared its separation from the ruling coalition, which is its brain child. At times it has been also threatening the federal government to separate Tigray from Ethiopia considering it as defacto state.
Then EPRDF rebranded itself into Prosperity Party with the three remaining political parties, the Oromo Democratic Party led Prime Minister Abiy, Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) led by Demeke Mekonnen and Southern Ethiopia Peoples’ Democratic Movement (SEPDM) whose chairman is now Muferiat Kamil.
As previously agreed a few years ago by the general assembly of EPRDF, Prosperity has also brought aboard the five regional parties covering the peripherals areas of Ethiopia – Somali, Gambella, Benishangul Gumz, Afar and Harari.
It is amidst this situation that COVID-19 has forced the national Electoral Board of Ethiopia to suspend the general election scheduled for the end of August 2020, which now led to the current controversy between the government and some opposition parties.