- The State of Emergency (SoE) is effective from today the Facebook page of EPRDF official says the SoE stays for six months.
- The statement read on the Television gives a message that it was a coup or a statement from the military rather than the council of ministers . It blames the government for failing to contain the “instability.”
- It states the SoE was declared to protect the constitution and the system.
- It also states that the SoE has been called by the public.
- Protests and group activities are banned but the details are still being drafted. This makes it clear that there was no unanimity in the declaration and a faction may have declared it as rumored. But the reports indicate that curfew is going to be announced as well as immediate ban on public assembly, arbitrary search and detention, shut down of media outlets and many more to be stipulated under 18 different articles.
Would the SoE Help?
- We have not seen the details of the SoE but the fact of the matter is the SoE only gives a breathing space and some sense of false security and stability for the supporters and deep state of the EPRDF government that is the security wing or the TPLF. They may elongate their grip by declaring SoE on a yearly basis since the country has gotten out of their command.
- Will this kill the protests and anti-government movements? Absolutely NO. The declaration will anger the public and international partners. It fuels the level of grievances and forced restraint among the youth. It will also unite fragmented groups and movements to unite and re-plan. This is a short-term solution to the national crises, it it solves the problems at all for the six months.
- The incomplete and half-baked presser read on the state Television states that the SoE was necessary to stabilize the country and continue the investments. However, SoE cannot stabilize the country since it increases insecurity and the sense of a police state within citizens. It is important to see how the previous SoE in 2016 had affected the image, stability and economy of the country. It completely stalled the running of the country. Movements were curtailed and curfew was on.
- Foreign investment as well as local investment will be affected. No international investor wants to move to or invest in a country that is under a SoE and is not stable. It will also be difficult for local investment and businesses to conduct their activities within a very restrictive environment. The foreign currency reserve in the country is already being depleted and the SoE is going to exacerbate the situation crippling the economy: there is a shortage of building steel, petrol and raw materials in the country already. The stocks will be the first victims.
- The militarization or the SoE is going to largely be effective in the Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia, which saw the largest protests recently. These regions, especially Oromo region hosts the largest industries and investments in the country therefore, the militarization of the region means the militarization of the everyday business. These regions are also the backbones of the national economy producing some of the essential agricultural products consumed locally and exported. Given the length of the SoE, reportedly six months, and the fact that the next six months are the essential periods of production, the militarization could suppress the freedom and the productivity of local farmers in the regions, thereby affecting the GDP.
- Urban residents would feel even more constrained and afraid to communicate, express themselves on the media or receive any information.
- The declaration could bring things back to square one again after prominent opposition politicians have recently been freed. For example recently released opposition leader, Merara Gudina was detained last year for sitting besides Berhanu Nega, leader of the locally banned Ginbot 7 Movement at a meeting Brussels. He was arrested as he landed in Addis Abeba for trespassing the SoE at a foreign land. Therefore, opposition leaders and citizens could be victims of the arbitrary rules of the SoE at anytime.
- The country effectively is under a military rule in the name of a group known as “Command Post” dominated by Tigrean Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) security officials.
- It also means the EPRDF government has become illegitimate has lost the authority to govern. This means iron-fist and abusive rule by an illegitimate team of seven commanders is going to commit even more atrocities and human rights abuses. This could soon get a few officials of the government and the military officials sanctioned by powerful Western allies and even the UN. They are also likely to face international courts for crimes against humanity. HR128 Resolution is in the pipeline in the US senate.
የሚንስትሮች ምክር ቤት አስቸኳይ የጊዜ አዋጅ አወጀ
On social media, there were multiple reactions. Most thought it was a silent coup since the Prime Minister has resigned yesterday and the SoE had no time limit.
የታወጀው ያስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ የህወሃት ወታደሮች መፈንቅለ መንግስት ነው። የሚገርመው ወታደሮቹ ያስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁ ለምን ያህል ጊዜ እንዲቆይ እንደታሰበ እንኳን አልገለጹም።… https://t.co/zWEc0Ic8SZ
— Girma Gutema℠ (@Abbaacabsa) February 16, 2018
— Dawit Kidanework (@dawitkwo) February 16, 2018
አዋጁ የጊዜ ገደብ ያልተበጀለት፣ ሀገሪቷም ጠ/ሚኒስትር የሌላት ከመኾኗ አንጻር ኢትዮጵያ ዛሬ በይፋ የጥይት ድምጽ ያልተሰማበት ወታደራዊ መፈንቅለ መንግሥት እያስተናገደች ነው ብሎ መደምደም ይቻላል፡፡
— Akemel Negash (@Akemeloo) February 16, 2018
ደም የጠማቸው ዞምቢዎች በንፁሃን ደም ይጫወቱ ዘንድ ፣ ትንሽ ጎደል ያሉት እስርቤቶች ሞላ ይሉ ዘንድ አስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ
— Eshetu Homa Keno (@Eshetuhk) February 16, 2018
The coup discourse is dominating the discussion. Reuters’ correspondent in Ethiopia tweeted that journalists were told by the ministers that there was no declaration and the meeting was not concluded.
Govt playing tricks. After waiting for 7 hours at the palace for an announcement, journos were told to leave & not to expect anything tonight. 40 mins later, govt announces emergency rule. #Ethiopia
— Aaron Maasho (@AaronMG) February 16, 2018
However, government TV were allowed to briefly record the meeting. Later, an unknown side, possibly the TPLF security branch, announced that the State of Emergency was declared making some people suspect that it was in fact a “coup.”
In #Ethiopia, instead of an all-parties reconciliation conference, I fear a Middle East type military dictatorship takeover and a zero sum game bloody outcome. USG, do not let it happen.
— Herman J. Cohen (@CohenOnAfrica) February 16, 2018
The more the regime kills the angrier the people get and the more determined the people will be to end TPLF.
— Dawit Kidanework (@dawitkwo) February 16, 2018
Some pro-government voices justified and supported the declaration.
It’s about time.first and for most the rule of law must prevail if we want to move forward as a nation and nationalities https://t.co/5BYnLps9BL
— alex-tesfay (@tesfay_alex) February 16, 2018
Update from the CEO and Journalist of ESAT Televison, Abebe Gellaw.
During an offical presser on February 17, 2018, the Minister of Defense, Siraj Fergesa, said the SoE was agreed by all members of the Ministerial Council.
— Mikias Sebsibe (@Mikias_S) February 17, 2018
Siraj also dismissed the suggestion from some quarters for the formation of a transitional team or government to solve the national crises. This is going to be one of the biggest mistakes and lost opportunities of the government to be a beacon of hope, reconciliation and write history by averting civil war in the country and the Horn. Because, the security solution will result in a security orientated and violent response from the protesters. It would not be surprising if in the next months, the current non-violent resistances in Ethiopia change their colors and become more violent or extremism and extremists breed.
Hahaa! Which ppl voted for Tyrants? The ppl out on the streets in millions across the nation, being killed, telling the regime to go? lol No. Ethiopians never voted for tyrants, Siraj! Tyrants voted for themselves & won 100%. Unless Siraj & Co ve other Ethiopians on Mars 🤔 https://t.co/HmcH0ffPNE
— Liya’ና B. Tefferi (@LiyanaTefferi) February 17, 2018
The Minister said any form of protest and group activity is banned. This means that the right to freedom of assembly, expression and protest are illegal in the next six months.
Siraj today also dismissed reports that it was the military taking over rather than the government announcing the SOE as false.
He said the Prime Minister leads the Command Post, which has seven members and is led by the Prime Minister. It is however, questionable that the Prime Minister, who resigned last week, was not giving the press conference.