The Ethiopian Council of Ministers’ Anti- Terrorism Law proposal issued on May 1, 2021, to categorize the TPLF & ‘’Shene’’ as terrorist organizations is a deliberate move to armed entities in the political Dialogue and to sabotage political dialogue in general.
Although we do not understand how the word ‘Shene’ is used in the proposed bill, we guess they would mean ‘‘Shane’’ as they associate this word to any citizen of Oromia that does not support the Prosperity Party. However, the word ‘‘Shane’’ is a sacred word in Gada System and its administrative and cultural structures defining a wide concept of Oromo culture and traditions. Using this name for this evil purpose in the “anti-terrorism” bill is an abuse of the word and degrading the Oromo language and culture. Whatever word is used this proposal is intentionally designed to obstruct the peaceful resolution to the political crises in the country. Particularly, at this critical time, when internal forces and international bodies such as the US and European Union are trying the peaceful resolution of multi-layer security and political crises that is devastating the country, it is evil act to introduce such damaging law to enhance conflict.
It is obvious that the Ethiopian ruling group is governing the country illegally as its tenure ended on October 05, 2020. Both the Council of Ministers, the Parliament and the whole Government Officials has lost their mandate to rule the country and they have no constitutional and legal rights to declare laws and implement them. Since Ethiopia is already in constitutional crises, this anti-terrorism law, even if approved by the parliament, is illegal as the Parliament itself is illegal to approve laws or to conduct national election.
Also declaring this anti- terrorism law by this unmandated illegal body is a clear sign of the ruling group to continue with further war, conflict, and human rights violations. It would bring significant escalation to explosive political and humanitarian crisis already facing Ethiopia. We would like to note that this anti- terrorism law is a replica of the notorious anti-terrorism proclamation of the 2009 (Proc. 652/2009) that was used by EPRDF to justify repressive practices in the country by delegitimizing political adversaries including OLF, ONLF, Ginbot 7 and misleading the international community in the name of fighting terrorism in the horn of Africa, mainly the Al-Shabab. The 2009 anti-terrorism law was effectively used by the EPRDF to silence dissent, and harass members, leaders, and supporters of political opposition groups. The same strategy is proposed by the current ruling group to legitimize further atrocities. Declaring this horrifying anti -terrorism law again is to justify the already prevalent atrocities and other murderous measures against opposition groups and to intensify the harassment of citizens once more.
We would like to inform the Ethiopian peoples and the international community that this anti -terrorism bill is particularly targeting the Oromia citizens, Benishangul – Gumuz, the Southern Nations and Peoples and the Tigrayan people who are struggling for freedom and democracy. So, we caution the Oromia citizens, other Ethiopian peoples to be vigilant of this danger and demand for peaceful political dialogue rather than war and conflict that had already devastated citizens lives and living. Also, this anti -terrorism bill is another evidence that here will not be safe election, if it exists at all, as weapon of control, as the ruling group is going to use this horrifying law to sabotage the election.
Also, we would like to inform the international communities that the sabotage of this ruling group is a complete denial of peaceful process and indicate that the ruling group chose applying unlawful and fake labelling of opposition groups to hellbent to power as an absolute dictator. Particularly, we ask the AU, UNSC, EU, and all concerned parties to denounce this anti- terrorism law that is intended to avoid oppositions and to block peaceful political dialogue. Also, we demand to put maximum pressure on the ruling group to end its military campaign and work seriously to avert an impending crisis that will be difficult to stop if it continues with war and conflict as the ruling group is planning. Also, we call up on and alert the international community not to turn blind eye again when authoritarian regimes like Ethiopia jump on the anti-terrorism bandwagon to deal with their internal political foes and create huge peace and security problems in the region and to our world.
Finally, we would like to inform the Ethiopian peoples and the international community that the ruling group is creating conflict after conflict both internally and externally to stay in power. But this is significantly damaging the country leading to the final collapse. We believe that this leads to ultimate tragedy and would be the last resort to damage Ethiopia as a country. Therefore, the Ethiopian peoples and the international community must take urgent action before things even get worst.
The OLF always believes that a sustainable and permanent solution to Ethiopia’s complex political problems could only be attained with an all-Inclusive democratic process and participation of all representative political forces for political dialogue. To this effect, OLF is willing to work with all stakeholders in paving the way for political dialogue, consensus building on peaceful resolution of political differences and formation of true democratic country.