Tag Archives: Abiy Ahmed Abuse of institutions & laws

In Fight to Win Narrative, State Needs to Remain Impartial

21 Jul

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

“The state has a responsibility of calming the fears of the public by showing that it has every intention and willingness to tamp down on activities that endanger the safety of citizens. This much is understandable. But bringing to bear the resources of the state to portray individuals and groups as enemies of the state and the public while they had the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is contrary to the principles of justice. It is fair and honourable to let them have their day in court before judges.”

In the past two years, it was perhaps the events of the first week of this month that are most fundamental in re-ordering Ethiopia’s political landscape. If the state of affairs shortly after the rise to power of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was one where multiple political groups gained legitimacy in their contention for state power, June 29, 2020, has served as the unravelling. What the country currently has in its hands is a pulling back of pluralism in the political sphere, which had been creeping up but accelerated over the past three weeks.

Fundamental to this change is the narrative in the making around the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa, a famous musician and political activist. And the violence that followed. Both were egregious acts, leaving in their wake shock and devastation. The lives of hundreds have been lost, properties worth hundreds of millions of Birr were damaged, and citizens were traumatised – these were incalculable losses for which another tragic chapter has to be added to Ethiopia’s political history.

Both sides of the political aisle maintain that the assassination, and no less the subsequent violence, were ruinous, even if there is a selective outrage over the circumstances of the events. Apportioning blame on the responsible party is never easy. Hence, building a winning narrative has become the prevalent political battleground.

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