State Minister Ambassador Taye Atske- Selassie briefed Addis-based African Ambassadors on current situations in the country, particularly on the recent protests in parts of Oromia and Amhara Regional States on Friday (August 19). Ambassador Taye gave detailed accounts of the causes of the recent incidents and the cautious response taken by the Government of Ethiopia in handling the situation. The State Minister mentioned the first protest that instigated the disturbance in Amhara Regional State.
State Minister Ambassador Taye said, although the previous unrest in Oromia Regional State was alluded to the Adiss-Oromia Special Zones’ Joint Master Plan, violence continued even after the regional government had abandoned the Master Plan. This, he said, is a proof that the unrest that followed had nothing to do with the Master Plan. The series of unrecognized demonstrations in dozens of Oromia towns and also cities in Amhara have legitimate concerns, According to Ambassador Taye. He underlined that the legitimate concerns of the protestors were lack of good governance, slow and sluggish government response towards public concerns, a huge number of unemployed youth, a considerable gap in creating public awareness and consensus with regard to the federal constitutional arrangement and a growing demand for a more improved facilities which clearly sprang from the government’s unreserved effort in creating strong and demanding society whenever there is a lag in the service.
In all these, the State Minister noted the underlying causes of protests and issues that are being used ignite and fiery circumstances should be seen separately.
However, he noted these legitimate questions were taken over by destructive elements. The demonstrations were openly marked with violence and an act of lawlessness which amounted to the loss of lives. The State Minister said in both cases demonstrations were funneled through the aid of social media and other media outlets infamous for pouring extremist agenda.
He further noted that the legitimate concerns of people have been usurped by political forces who assumed that the demand of the people have created a perfect moment to grab power by unconditional means. To the contrary, the State Minister, underscored honest demands of protestors serves the government and the people as mirrors with genuine reflections. Apparently, there were causalities, adding that many law enforcement agents and protestors have lost their lives. “For Ethiopians,” he added, “the death of one is always too many.”
With regard to the ongoing government efforts in responding to the situation, Ambassador Taye noted that the government is conducting series of peace and development conferences in across all regions, particularly in parts where the recent unrest was witnessed. He added, this is also a good moment for the government to make self-assessment, particularly in taking on the public to be part of the undeniable growth and transformation of the country.
Ambassador Taye, however, warned that some external forces who wanted to use protests as an opportune moment to define and change the geopolitical landscape and destabilize the sub-region should desist their destructive activities. “Ethiopia’s survival and its territorial integrity will never be compromised by any means,” the State Minister added.
African Ambassadors on their part commended the government for preparing such briefings which had helped them to clearly understand the difference between what the media propionates and the reality on the ground. Many Ambassadors also noted, unemployment is a common problem in Africa but which is always subject to manipulations from anti-peace elements if African governments could not be cautious. Asked whether there was a need a third part to investigate the situation the State Minister stressed, “The government has constitutional obligation and a home-grown mechanism to carry out an independent, impartial and thorough investigation.”