Ethiopia re-arrests shows govt has no clear policy to exit crisis – Lawyer

An Ethiopian lawyer and lecturer with the Keele University in the United Kingdom says the re-arrest of journalists and politicians back home is a sign that the government was clueless about how to exit the current political crisis.

Awol Allo in an interview with Radio France International (RFI) held that the development which took place over the weekend was, however, not a surprise to most watchers of Ethiopian politics over the past few years.

He said for the government to order the fresh detention of these people was a sign that it lacked the ideas to steer the country away from the current crisis. Ethiopia is without a substantive Prime Minister and is currently under a six-month state of emergency imposed on February 16.

“… the fact that this is happening at a time that we have a state of emergency and these are highly popular individuals, very high profile politicians re-arrested again says very clearly (I think) to everyone that is watching that the government has no clear vision, clear policy to get out of the current crisis,” he said.

And they are taking such a long long time to appoint a new Prime Minister shows very clearly that the former Prime Minister wasn’t really in control at the time and that there were other people who call the shots behind the scene.

About a dozen politicians and journalists were arrested during a gathering in the town of Bahir Dar in the Amhara regional state. A lawyer associated with some of them said they were held for displaying a banned national flag and meeting without permit contrary to state of emergency rules.

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According to Allo, the conflicting and contradictory signals sent by the regime all but lacked logic given the basis for the release of the re-arrested group and the incidents that followed their release.

Commenting on the lack of a Prime Minsiter, he said it was indicative of the fact that outgoing Hailemariam Desalegn was not in control over the last five years. “The fact that the ruling establishment didn’t care much about the resignation of the Prime Minister, he added.

“And they are taking such a long long time to appoint a new Prime Minister shows very clearly that the former Prime Minister wasn’t really in control at the time and that there were other people who call the shots behind the scene.”

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