Ethiopian prime minister resigns after mass protests

Ethiopian prime minister resigns after mass protests

Ethiopia’s prime minister has submitted a letter of resignation in a surprise move that comes amid protracted anti-government protests.

The resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn, who has been in power since 2012, was reported by the state-affiliated broadcaster Fana on Thursday and follows a nationwide state of emergency last year. His stepping down is unprecedented in the east African country.

Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital, Addis Ababa. The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.

“Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many,” Hailemariam said in a televised address to the nation. “I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.”

The letter was accepted by the executive committee of Hailemariam’s party, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, as well as the wider ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), state-backed media said.

His resignation will be confirmed once the full EPRDF council meets.

In a short statement, Hailemariam said he was not quitting politics, but wanted to continue his work to reform Ethiopia. “My decision is to be part of the ongoing reform programmes,” he said, according to Fana, which added: “The prime minister said he tried his utmost effort to solve the crisis in his country and he is resigning now to be part of a solution to it.”

Hailemariam, previously a low-profile politician and technocrat, succeeded the former Marxist rebel Meles Zenawi, under whom he had served as deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

In 2015, months of anti-government demonstrations spread across Ethiopia, prompting parliament to declare a 10-month nationwide state of emergency in October 2016. This quelled the worst of the violence, but periodic uprisings still occur.

This week, disenchanted young men blocked roads and businesses stayed closed in and around Addis Ababa.

In an attempt to ease tensions, the government last month began issuing a string of pardons and releasing prisoners after Hailemariam said jailed “politicians” would be freed “to improve the national consensus and widen the democratic platform”.

Ethiopia’s government has long been accused of arresting journalists and opposition leaders. Rights organisations and opposition groups have called for those held to be released, saying they were arrested on trumped-up charges and punished for their points of view.

Hailemariam said he would stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the EPRDF and the country’s parliament accepted his resignation and named a new premier.

Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

2 COMMENTS

  1. What I hear from the source is Addis(Finfine) is rampant with wild gossips. One such rumor blowing around is the Marxist demons such as those graduates of the Sebhat Nega school of demented philosophy is an Oromo or Amhara should never be given the premiership mantle. They consider that as a declaration of war on the front they stole away from the noble people of Tigray. These demons still remain die-hard bigots as they are dying. What they are wanting is the 20/20 hind sight to see those gallant Oromo and Amhara youths have started smelling blood and they ain’t gonna go back home empty handed. The aint gonna back down. Both are belching out for the top of their Amighty Blessed lungs:

    Well, I won’t back down
    No, I won’t back down
    You can stand me up at the gates of hell
    But I won’t back down.
    ‘Not this time around!!!

    No, I’ll stand my ground
    Won’t be turned around
    And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
    Gonna stand my ground
    Well I know what’s right
    I got just one life
    In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
    But I’ll stand my ground.

    Get it bigots?
    You can stand me up at the gates of hell
    But I won’t back down.

    Without a democratic governance in my hand, I won’t back down!!! That is what the youth in Ambo, Arsi, Asboti, Mersa, Gondar, Gore, Jimma and through out Oromia and Amhara are saying. Not me, them, those gallant young people of Oromia and Amhara. Not me!!!! Don’t look at me you ‘golden race’ bigot!!! Them!!! You better deal with them complying to all democratic demands they have laid out on the table for you. And they ain’t gonna be deceived with spoons fulls but they want good governance by the shovel. You know what to do with your ‘developmental democracy’ spiel!!! Shove it!!!! I didn’t say that but they did, those gallant youth of Amhara and Oromia.

    In the meantime, I would like to say a word or two to my dear brothers and sisters from Tigrai. You have been hoodwinked by the smart alecks and brutes who loot and pillage in your name. They have successfully robbed you off the organization you created for a noble cause. They have been telling you that Oromos like me don’t like you. Our harmonious Amhara neighbors don’t like you. These two ethnic groups are grinding their ax to do you another Rwanda. They had done every vice act on them just to create unwarranted hatred on you as a people. In your name, they have committed a crime against humanity by summarily executing prisoners of war after they marched into Addis(Finfine). You can ask one of your regretful sons Obbo Gebru Asrat about that. They killed more than 200 peaceful demonstrators in Addis(Finfine) right after the ‘loaded’ 2005 elections and have been telling you that they had to kill to protect you against another Rwanda. We Oromos and Amharas are principled and cultured people. We have friends who hail from your region who we call dear friends. We will lay down our lives for them and they will do the same for us. We have raised families together and we are still together. We had navigated through the concrete jungles of the west and had found success together. We Oromos and Amharas are compassionate and not bigots like the despots who robbed you off your front. They have enriched themselves beyond you and I can imagine. You must spit them out. Out to the wolves!!!! Show them justice!!! We Oromos and Amharas are not bigots!!! Never in our glorious history!!!

    That is all I want to say!!!

  2. Ladies and gentlemen! If you believed that all these English dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster, Oxford, The American Heritage had given you the correct description of the word ‘resignation’ you will up for a surprise of your lifetime. The new description redacted right from the source Arat Kilo is ‘resignation – a state of resigning from duty today and rescinding it a minute later with the same mouth’. The PM is being played with ‘you see me now, and you don’t see me also, you see me now….’ you get the idea. ‘I did not say I am resigning now but what I said is ummmmmmmmmmmmm’. This family man is being played to be the butt of town, man.

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