Ethiopia’s PM extends olive branch to opposition groups abroad

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (June 18, 2018)

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has made calls to opposition groups abroad to give up their arms and come back home to peacefully take part in the country’s politics.

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister

Presenting his report to the Parliament, Abiy Ahmed said the country can only benefit from peace but not war; and called on Patriotic Ginbot 7 (PG7), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) to give up arms.

He said the use of arms to come to power was “outdated and old fashioned” and the country would not benefit from it.

“If Dr. Berhanu [the leader of PG7] kill me to come to power, or if i kill Dr. Berhanu to come to power; they are both outdated and old fashioned. The country would not benefit from it,” the Prime Minister said. “War is outdated and old fashioned. Not a good idea.”

Last week the House of People’s Representatives has made an unusual request, demanding that the Prime Minister present a report on the state of the country. Abiy Ahmed spoke on pertinent issues in the country and reforms made by his government in the last few months.

He said although the country’s constitution clearly stipulates that the defense and security should be free from politics, that has not been the case in practice.

Speaking about the recent decision of his government to implement the Algiers agreement with Eritrea to resolve border disputes, the Premier said there was nothing new to the decision by his government except implementing a binding decision that Ethiopia has already agreed to in December 2000.

Responding to a question regarding the release of political prisoners who were charged with terrorism, Dr. Ahmed said if an attempt to grab power through unconstitutional means was to be regarded as terrorism, then seeking to stay in power through unconstitutional ways was also an act of terrorism.

“Does the constitution allow torturing prisoners and keeping them in a dark cell?” he responded to a question with a question. “This is also an act of terrorism on the part of the government,” he said in what amounts to admitting that the government was terrorizing its people.

The Prime Minister also called on various ethnic groups in the country to make peaceful coexistence their priority and avoid unnecessary conflict and bloodshed. Ahmed encouraged people to forgive. “Forgiveness has the moral authority.”

Ahmed also spoke at length on the need for economic integration in the Horn of Africa without regard to borders that he said were drawn by colonialists. (EW)