Ethiopia: Plan to Release Political Party Members ‘Good Gesture’ Towards Plurality – Oppositions

Opposition political parties praised government’s decision to drop charges against some political party members and other individuals who had been sentenced to imprisonment due to their criminal acts and those whose case is still under court procedures, describing the move as a good gesture towards widening political landscape and promoting plurality.

The comments came following EPRDF’s announcement to release some political party members and other individuals in what it said will widen democratic space for all and ensure better national consensus while indicating closure of Maekelawi prison center.

Former FDRE President and opposition party member, Dr. Negaso Gidada told The Ethiopian Herald that if the decision comes to effect, it will be a very essential step on the country’s political movement.

He adds that some of the imprisoned political party members are very elite and prominent. If set free, the politicians could contribute own share on the political development of the nation.

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Dr. Negaso further says the imprisonment of political party members have weaken opposition political activities and their release would help the parties regain strength and trust.

Ethiopia Democratic Party Central Committee Member Lidetu Ayalew for his part told Addis Zemen that the move to release political party members is encouraging and only a beginning to democratization. There are other issues that EPRDF must deal with. Human and political rights should respected.

It is good that the party has begun pointing its fingers on its weakness than externalizing to other bodies, he says adding that the party ought to reconsider other critical issues besides releasing prisoners.

Representing a group of eleven negotiating political parties, Tigistu Awel told The Ethiopian Herald that opposition political parties have strongly been insisting on the need for releasing political party members. And it was part of the proposed agenda of political negotiations, he said.

Lauding the measure as positive move to the country’s peace, he stressed that the measure also needs immediate implementation.

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“It is only a temporary action and the ruling needs to put in place other mechanisms to find lasting solution and restore peace and stability,” added Tigestu Awel.

EPRDF must prove its commitment of promoting positive political atmosphere through practical measures to further widen the political space and create leveled ground for all parties.

Oromo Federalist Congress Party Deputy Chairman and External Relations Head Geberu Geberemariam appreciating the move as a leapfrog step forward to promote diverse political views said the ruling needs to continue taking other swift measures to maintain peace and stability.

According to Geberu the nation should come together and discus national issues to promote the longstanding culture of tolerance and unity. Accordingly all citizens including politicians and scholars should come to round table to reflect their perspectives on current affairs of the country.

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