Exiled opposition announces readiness to operate in Ethiopia

ESAT News (July 31, 2018) Patriotic Ginbot 7, an armed opposition group based in Eritrea, has announced that it has made a decision to lay down arms to move to Ethiopia within a month.

At a press conference held today in Alexandria, Virgnia, the chairman of the movement, Prof. Berhanu Nega, Secretary General, Andargachew Tsige, and Ephrem Madebo, head of political affairs, expressed a commitment to continue their struggle peacefully within Ethiopia taking advantage of the reform efforts of the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The leaders said that PG7 will coordinate its operations abroad and back home to contribute to the efforts to deepen the reform.

The movement committed itself to seizing the conducive environment to operate in Ethiopia and move its key leadership after holding a lengthy discussion with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on July 27. “The fruitful talks held between the government and PG7 was based on good faith, mutual trust and openness,” the movement said in a statement it issued earlier today.

Madebo pointed out that the movement had seriously taken the  conducive environment in Ethiopia to struggle peacefully as a political movement considering to turn into a political party that will be readied to run in the next elections that can be extended beyond two years. “But institutions need to be built. We cannot build democratic institutions overnight as it is a lengthy process that cannot just be halted after holding an election,” he said.  

Prof. Nega said that the responsibility of laying down the foundations for democracy must not be left only to the government, but should also be the the task of every stakeholder. “Democratization is an arduous  process.

“We must play a supportive role in the effort to lay down the foundations for a democratic election and play our part in stabilizing the country,” he said.  He expressed optimism that reformists that have come to the fore from the ruling party have shown resolve by taking a number of bold and practical actions including allowing the media to operate freely.   

Tsige also addressed the issues related to its armed combatants. “ As a movement that has a military wing, the issues were discussed and agreed upon.”  He indicated that there is a goodwill on the part of the government to support the process in a manner that will take into account the needs of the combatants.

Prof. Nega pointed out that there were two critical junctures that turned out to be missed opportunities. “The fall of military regime in 1991 and the aftermath of the 2005 elections were two critical junctures that have failed. The current opportunity is a third critical juncture that must not fail unlike the tragic two. We are committed to pay whatever price necessary to make this opportunity a historic success.” he said.