Ethiopia opposition says anti-govt plot invented
“Without third party verification I can’t believe there was a plot,” Bulcha Demeksa, leader of one of the largest opposition parties, the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement, told Reuters.
“This government is just looking for an excuse to imprison potential politicians.”
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government said last month a group led by an Ethiopian-American professor had planned to use assassinations and bombings to provoke street protests and topple the government.
Addis Ababa arrested 40 former and current army personnel and members of a disbanded opposition group from a “terror network” it said was formed by Berhanu Nega, an opposition leader now teaching economics in the United States.
The Bucknell University lecturer, who has publicly said he wants to overthrow the Ethiopian government, has called the accusations “baseless”.
“When Berhanu says he wants to overthrow the government, it is just words,” said Bulcha.
“He couldn’t have organised these people from the U.S.”
Former Ethiopian president Negaso Gidada, now an independent member of parliament, also told Reuters he doubted Berhanu’s involvement, but said the government was using the alleged plot to root out dissenters in its military.
“There is no democracy in Ethiopia,” added Negaso, citing recent legislation governing the activities of charities and the media that rights groups have condemned as repressive.