State Minister Ambassador Taye gave briefings to Addis based Middle East and Asian Ambassadors on current situations in the country, particularly on the recent protests in parts of Oromia and Amhara Regional States today (August 22, 2016). Ambassador Taye shared details on the causes of the recent incidents and the cautious response taken by the Government of Ethiopia in handling the situation.
The State Minister also mentioned the immediate cause of the first protest that instigated the disturbance in Amhara Regional State. State Minister Taye said by and large, in both the Amhara and Oromia regional states, the demonstrations were made without the recognition of the respective regional authorities. Though the messages and slogans were unconstitutional in nature, the demonstrations were peaceful at the beginning, the Sate Minister noted.
As the days went by, due to the clashes between the demonstrators and law enforcing organs in various instances, there were casualties which led to the loss of life and destruction of properties where in the government decided to contain it. "For Ethiopians," Ambassador Taye added, "the death of one is always too many."
Concerning the recent protests in Ormomia region, State Minister Ambassador Taye said, although the previous unrest in Oromia Regional State was alluded to the Adiss-Oromia Special Zones' Joint Master Plan, violence continued even after the regional government had abandoned the Master Plan. This is a proof that the unrest that followed had nothing to do with the Master Plan, he added.
He further said series of unrecognized demonstrations in dozens of Oromia towns and in cities in Amhara region have legitimate concerns. The State Minister however, said the demonstrations were hugely funneled and exacerbated by extremists operating from afar. He added, there were actually subjective and objective reasons for the protests, which he said were legitimate concerns that include enormous lack of good governance and failure to cater public concerns as quickly as possible, a considerable gap in creating public awareness and consensus with regard to the federal constitutional arrangement, lack of employment opportunities, and also lack of service delivery which has been created due to the wide expectations the development has brought about.
In all this, he stressed the underlying causes of protests and issues that are being used to ignite and fiery circumstances should be seen separately. Amidst these situations, he said, the concerns of the demonstrations were manipulated by those waiting quietly to further their extremist agenda. The legitimate concerns of the protestors have been usurped by the external forces who assumed that the demand of the people have created a perfect moment to grab power by unconditional means, the State Minister added. Ambassador Taye also said in both cases demonstrations were funneled through the aid of social media and other media outlets infamous for pouring extremist agenda.
Ambassador Taye further shared updates about the on-going government efforts in response to the situations. He said the government is conducting a series of discussions and intensive engagement with various segments of the population, youth, rural community, religious community, political parties and others. He said, although the anti-peace external forces are trying their best to put the demonstrators at the edges, the public is showing concern to put issues on the table and solve them through legitimate channel. This he said will be solved in a committed and determined manner.