Ethiopia: Group says would give up arms if PM implements promises

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (June 20, 2018)

An armed opposition group said it would give up arms if Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed fulfill promises of change, scrap laws that restrict political opponents and do away with obstacles to a democratic transition.

In response to a speech by the Premier on Monday that called on opposition groups abroad to give up arms and peacefully take part in the country’s politics, Patriotic Ginbot 7, an Ethiopian group operating from Eritrea said in a statement that it had no intention of pursuing armed struggle as the only strategy to achieve its goal.

The statement said if the Prime Minister discard the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that labels political opponents as terrorists and establish institutions that enable a democratic transition, it would not waste time holding on to arms to bring about change in Ethiopia.

“Patriotic Ginbot 7 had no intention of coming to power through armed struggle. The strategy was adopted as a self defense against the regime’s violent and deadly acts against people who are deemed to dissent against its policies,” the statement said.

The groups, which said it supports the endeavours for change by the Prime Minister and his team, underscored that for the promised changes to succeed, a national dialogue involving political groups and civic societies should be held soon.

Addressing the parliament and the nation on Monday, the Prime Minister called on Patriotic Ginbot 7 (PG7), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) to give up arms and come back home to be part of the political process.