Ethiopian govt values concerns of protesters and is working to meet their demands – envoy

by Selam

Ethiopia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, having registered double digit economic growth for the last thirteen years. But this growth has also spiked expectations and created a demanding society.

From the outside looking in, recent media reports have painted Ethiopia as a country on fire, owing to unprecedented protests in Oromia and Amhara regional states; these have resulted in causalities and arrests by state agencies. Several theories have been fronted to explain their origin but what is the government’s version of the story?

In an exclusive interview with Khen Trevor Amooti, Ethiopia’s Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo, Degife Bula Wakijera, weighed in on the current situation in his country.

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First things first, what is happening in Ethiopia?

In the past few months, demonstrations have taken place in different parts of Oromia and Amhara regional states. They have different causes, but the original cause of the problem in the Amhara regional state was, it has since been established, connected to disagreement over regional boundaries.

In Oromia, the original dispute resulted from the Addis Ababa-Oromia master plan. In both cases, the demonstrations that followed appeared to have had little to do with these ostensible reasons.

These sound like genuine reasons for peaceful demonstration, in a constitutional democracy such as Ethiopia, yet we have heard about violent confrontations between protesters and state agencies; is demonstration illegal in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is a constitutional democracy and the Federal Constitution guarantees all the peoples of Ethiopia unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession, as well as all human and democratic rights.

It is also true that the constitution guarantees the right to hold peaceful demonstrations whereas any proposed demonstration should observe the required procedures. These include acknowledgement of responsibility by the organisers and agreement with local administrations over the proposed time and

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