Tag Archives: Covid-19 pandemic.

History May Look Back on this time as Needless Moment:       Addis Fortune editorial

16 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

If the rippling effects of granting the incumbent an extension of its full power based on a contested deliberative political and constitutional process was not apparent, there have been signs of ill omen over the past week.

Three major opposition parties – the Oromo Federalist Congress, Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front – have warned of an increase in tensions. In the case of the first two, the consequence could be a return to public discontent and possible eruptions of anti-government protests that “could transform into violence,” according to a joint statement they released…

Unwittingly, a process stewarded by Chief Justice Meaza granted a legal closure to what is essentially a political deadlock. History will remember her and those legislators who have voted in favour of their decision needlessly.

 

It is characteristic of the general climate of confusion the year 2020 has set in Ethiopia and the global stage in general. There is an air of melancholy.

In just a few months, the spirit of the Constitution was afforded as much respect as its intent was devalued. The circumstances were at first ominous.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), citing disruptions caused by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, decided to postpone the much anticipated national elections, which were slated for August. It was a fateful decision that failed to pass the test of considerable and thoughtful reflections.

But it set off a substantive and rewarding debate on the letter and spirit of the Constitution, with legal scholars reflecting on the possibilities and implications of postponing the elections. No less encouraging was to see the Council of Constitutional Inquiry (CCI) hold a hearing chaired by Chief Justice Meaza Asheanfi, president of the Supreme Court, for legal and constitutional experts to add to the discussion. It was an uplifting exercise of the sort rarely witnessed in the country’s political history. Continue reading

The Challenges of Ethiopia’s Transition and its Policy Options

26 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by The Board of Vision Ethiopia

The postponement of the election was predictable long before the outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak. The  government  has not been able to  conduct  national  census, political parties  were  not  able  to  campaign  freely  in  all  regions  of  the  country,  and  sectarian messages  dominated  the  airwaves.  Allegations  that  security  forces,  law  enforcement agencies  and  government  institutions  are  partisans  have  eroded  public  trust  in  the government’s ability to prepare the country for the promised free and fair election.

 

Had it not been for a complex set of events, the month of May 2020 would have witnessed Ethiopia’s first post-conflict and transitional election.

Two years have passed since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in the aftermath of  a popular  uprising  that demanded political  reforms,  protection of  human  rights and establishment  of  law  and  order.  He  raised  the  hopes  and  aspirations  of  millions  of Ethiopians back home and abroad with tantalizing measures that included the releases of  political  prisoners,  amnesty  for  political  dissidents,  and  a  peace  settlement  with neighboring Eritrea.

These bold steps earned the prime minister all round commendations and the 2019 Nobel Prize for Peace.

To the dismay of many Ethiopians, no sooner had glimpses of these signs of change been caught than the specter of anarchy and chaos ominously descended on the land. Ethnic conflicts got worse, resulting in countless deaths   and   massive   internal   human displacement. Minorities (especially the Amharas and Christians) in the various regions were  targeted  and  persecuted,  while  university campuses  became  centers  of  political agitation, violence and killings. Defenseless students of the Amhara ethnic group, mostly young girls, were abducted and tortured by extremist Oromo fighters, and several places of worship, including heritage institutions, were burned down. The governor of the Amhara region and his colleagues were assassinated under mysterious circumstances, as was the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.

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