On what was called “Declaration of Emergency” in Ethiopia:
BY Henok G. Gabisa*
1- Arrests, brutal crackdown has been taking place already. What will this state of emergency change ?
The country has already been under the same exact situation of state of emergency. Since the first protest broke out in Ginchi town, the people have endured all kinds of governmental brutality with impunity. For all purposes and intentions, Oromia fell under the rule of the command post as of December of 2015 (see EBC report on December 15 or 16 where Getachew Reda and the PM HMD vowed for “merciless and definitive” action/measure against the protesters). The same statement was made by HMD in regard to the Amhara protest a month ago. So, that means, the country is already in exact similar situation with state of emergency. No official of the regime has ever been investigated and prosecuted for the killings of hundreds and thousands of mass arrests in the past months.
If there is anything the declaration of the state of emergency tells us, it is a sinister move thought to be used as a legal cover by the regime to continue to exculpate or exonerate itself from mass murders, mass arrests, media blackout and all other vengeful actions it is taking against the public. It is just a final attempt to legalize and legitimize all that is to come.
It has to be noted that it is just legal and constitutional under Ethiopian legal system (Article 93 of the Constitution ) to kill during state of emergency. In Ethiopia, right to life is among lists of derogable rights contrary to the international human rights treaty obligations where observance of right to life should remain intact in any kind of emergency situation. Not that Ethiopia has ever observed its international duty, now we are witnessing an all-out war situation declared against the citizens.
It has to be noted that the declaration of emergency is yet to be published. This means, the regime will have an unaccountably and extremely broad margin of military actions to engage in a war-like battles against the public. That will be another self-caused recipe for the end of the regime.
2 – Do you see it more like a domestic or foreign oriented message?
I see it like a message desired to be conveyed to the foreigners that the regime is still in control, while in fact, the irony of the declaration is a deep cut that demystified the country is in fact unstable, volatile and more likely to explode contrary to the invented narrative built over the last decades.
3 – Do you see any room for dialogue in this crisis ?
I think the room for dialogue is closed. That ship has already sailed with the#OromoMassacre at #Irreechaa last week that was caused by military’s firing at the crowed at the sacred event and stampede that followed as a result. Nobody expected the regime goes that low. It proved to the people that the regime’s political psychology is hell bent on winning the battle by deploying the military at any expense, even though we can’t find an example anywhere in the world where people lost a battle to tyranny and dictatorship despite the journey it takes to see freedom and democracy desired in life.
He is also legal counsel for victims of widespread human rights violation in Ethiopia. He writes on justice system reform in post-conflict nations and tweets at @henokgabisa