Date: Thursday, 13 December 2018
December 13, 2018 (Ezega.com) - We will bring criminals to justice, says Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, according to oFBC report.
The criminals he had in mind are those who former officials who, he believes, abused their power.
“We will hunt them down and bring them to justice as far as they are accused of committing crimes,” the Prime Minister said in a statement issued today.
“It is impossible to escape after committing crimes and to lead a lavish lifestyle by stealing public property,” he said in the statement.
“We should not permit criminals to sleep peacefully. They should face justice,” he added.
Recently, dozens of former government officials were arrested on suspicions of corruption and human rights abuses.
Those arrested included General Kinfe Dagnew, former head of Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), and Yared Zerihun, former Deputy Head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and Commissioner General of Federal Police Commission.
Also arrested this week were two individuals from the NISS identified as Measho Kidane and Hadush Kassa. However, the circumstances under which they were arrested was not disclosed.
Still at large, according to many, is the former head of NISS Getachew Assefa, also an executive committee member of the Tigrayan Liberation Front (TPLF), a founding member of the ruling party Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The Attorney General of Ethiopia has accused Getachew Assefa of gross human rights violations and has issued an arrest warrant against him. The whereabouts of Getachew Assefa is currently unknown, but he is believed to be in Tigray region in northern Ethiopia.
The Prime Minister may have been referring to Getachew Assefa and other former officials like him when he said 'criminals' must be brought to justice.
The present declaration by the Prime Minister is sure to ricochet tensions building between the Prime Minister and his supporters, on the one hand, and his detractors, on the other.
His critics allege that the current campaign is not about the rule of law, but a selective targeting of his potential opponents, especially the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) and its supporters. They allege the current campaign is turning a blind eye to people who were equally part of the previous system, including many now in positions of power and influence inside the central government, as well as in the regions.
Huge rally was held in Mekelle city this weekend, where the TPLF leader and Tigray region administrator, Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, accused the central government of targeting Tigrayans, and sent his strongest warning to date.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received high marks from a wide section of the Ethiopian public for bringing profound changes in such a short time. The changes he brought since assuming power include releasing political prisoners, allowing political exiles to return home, greater freedom of the press, plans to liberalize the economy, and normalization of relations with Eritrea.
However, under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia faces considerable regional and ethnic tensions like never before, according to many observers. The Tigrayan region in the north is putting out statements increasingly critical of the central government. In the south, several enclaves once part of the Southern Ethiopia region have voted to establish separate regions of their own.
In Oromia, armed groups and youth vigilantes police some areas. For example, an Indian company representatives were recently detained for several days by locals for failing to pay salaries on time. Also, there are increasing reports indicating that some people are losing their properties without due process in Oromia and elsewhere.
There are ongoing conflicts at the Oromia-Benishangul-Gumuz border over claims and counter-claims of rights to land.
The Amhara region in the north has its own problems with Qemant people over greater autonomy issues.
The ruling EPRDF is not the cohesive self that Ethiopians came to know. The party is showing growing signs of strains from within.
These myriad of problems, along with the absence of strong national political forces, rather than regional ones, to intervene has left many observers worried.
Of the dozens of political parties operating in Ethiopia today, most are regional parties with narrow allegiances. Those parties who claim to be pan-Ethiopian are few and weak.
With elections coming in about two years, no one knows how all these various issues will be sorted out, if at all.