Ethiopia – The State of Emergency or Abduction of Power by the Prime Minister
By Gudu Kassa
Does the state of emergency makes any difference to the people or help to stop the protest? The answer is no because the people have no rights respected under the Constitution. The people have no right to protest, gather, not to be searched without a court order, not to be arrested for more than 24hrs without a court order etc. The government still search when people come and get out of the capital. There are hundreds of checkpoints all over the country. No one is given permission to gather and protest. No one is brought before court in 24 hrs, and the government can arrest anyone indefinitely.
So what more power that the state of Emergency can give to the army and why it is needed. There is no more power to be given or to take away from the public.
All the talk in the constitution were not respected. The army has been already in most regions without the state of emergency.
The paradox is the people have been asking for their constitutional rights to be respected. The government promised to listen and reform, and now it is suspending the constitution altogether
The big danger is it has already scared away all foreign residents and embassies. Now it will give them a reason to scale down their embassies, send alert to citizens to travel to Ethiopia, discourage investment and help citizens to evacuate. Addis Ababa has been a conference capital in the last few years now nation will think twice before setting a meeting in Addis Ababa as opposed to Nairobi, South Africa, Lagos, etc.
The government pressed a panic button unnecessarily when kids start throwing stones and fire. A political party that claims to have more than 6 million party members, and the army that can conquer the world, and politicians who claim to have moved mountains are now in panic and sending the business confidence of the international community down the drain.
The state of emergency means that the government in no more in control of the country and cannot enforce law and orders. That means to send a wrong signal, and some of the embassies have already scaled down operations, and some have been sending to their citizens to register at their embassies so that rapid evacuation can be organised.
Of course, the Chief-of-Staff of the Army has been building to these days. He didn’t menace his word when he talked about spineless political leadership in Mekele meeting in May. Rather than being out of politics the Chief-of-Staff of the Army was making his ambition very clear that he can sort out the problem of the country. Alerted by the Chief-of-staff statement the former Commander of Air-force, General Abebe Tekelehaymanot, has alerted the public that the army might take over power. Two days ago that fear was realised by the declaration of the state of emergency in the country. A naive prime minister has willingly abducted his power to the army Chief-of-Staff to run the show.
The biggest loser is the Prime Minster. He willingly abdicated his power to what is called a council of army who would run the show under the state of emergency.
The citizens lose rights that they never had.