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Ethiopia Prime Minister Desalegn resigns

Less than 24 hours after South African President Jacob Zuma was forced to resign by his own party, another African leader has thrown in the towel.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, has today, in a surprise move tendered in his resignation as both the country’s premier and chairman of the ruling coalition.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

“I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy...I believe my party and government will make history again by conducting peaceful power transition”, Desalegn said in a televised address. 

He has said he will remain prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the country’s parliament accepted his resignation and named a new premier.

Between 2015 and 2016 hundreds of demonstrators were imprisoned but since the beginning of this year, many have been released. They were protesting against restrictions on political freedoms and human rights abuses.

“Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many”

On Tuesday a senior opposition leader was released from prison and all charges against him dropped, a day after demonstrators blocked roads and staged rallies in several towns to protest against his incarceration.

Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), was arrested in December 2015 after mass protests broke out in the Oromiya region over accusations that farmers were being forced to sell land with scant compensation.

He had been held initially on terrorism charges, which were later reduced to charges of incitement to violence. State-affiliated media confirmed that Bekele had been freed along with seven other opposition figures, and that the charges against him had been dropped.

Bekele's release came amid a three-day strike across Oromiya province, which surrounds the capital, as well as a mass pardoning of dissidents by the government aimed at reducing unrest that has simmered since 2015.

Nearly 6,000 prisoners have been freed since January, mainly people who had been detained for alleged involvement in unrest in Oromiya, or, to a lesser extent, the Amhara region.

Bekele was sentenced last month to six months for contempt of court after he and other opposition members sang a protest song during their trial. Had he not been freed, a verdict on his incitement charge would have been handed down on March 7.

On Tuesday, large crowds marched in various towns in Oromiya and roads remained blocked with large stones, including in the towns of Jimma, Woliso and Legetafo.

Markets, schools and banks remained closed in most of the areas, residents said. Some protesters attacked vehicles.

"Many Oromo politicians remain unjustly incarcerated, such as Bekele," said one protester in the town of Jimma, who gave his name only as Awol, speaking before news that Bekele had been freed. "All should be released. That is why we are striking."

Sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital, unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 with demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses.

Rights groups say hundreds have died in the violence. Ethiopia is often accused of using security concerns as an excuse to stifle dissent, as well as suppressing non-governmental organizations and the media, which the government denies.

Last November, then Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was also forced by the army and party to resign from the presidency. 


0 #1 Amen 2018-02-15 16:36
Will Bishop's Kisembo's ADVCICE to our own also bear fruit?

These are good developments!

But our Ugandan case, we are a docile lot, who cannot exert pressure, we only lament.
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+3 #2 Mukwano 2018-02-15 16:54
Now, this is the honorable way to leave office. Hailemariam Desalegn has realised that his leadership style is not working, and in the interest of both his country and party, decided that he does not have more to offer, and has resigned.

A smart man indeed. He knows when to leave.

Oh how I wish we had leaders of this calibre in Uganda.
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+2 #3 Odongkara 2018-02-15 17:09
Quoting Amen:
Will Bishop's Kisembo's ADVCICE to our own also bear fruit?

These are good developments!

But our Ugandan case, we are a docile lot, who cannot exert pressure, we only lament.

Ugandans are just cowards to the extend that they even forfeit their rights.

Museveni would have vacated if Ugandans took tough moves as exhibited by the Ethiopians and Kenyans. No wonder Kenyans refer to, "this is not Uganda"

Peoples power is effective, can force out dictators but if you have chicken hearted people like in Uganda, this power is powerless!
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+2 #4 ejakait engoraton 2018-02-15 19:29
Ladit ODONKARA, in primary, many years ago, we had a movie, film as we called them then, called GIVE A DOG A BONE and in it was this song to effect " when you point your finger at your neighbour , there are three more pointing back at you............."

YES , and the last time I checked , the name ODONKARA belonged to a person coming from Uganda, much as some have moved to and become British, American etc.

YES , my brother, despite the banter I fully understand what you are trying to say. BUT I want you to know that we are dealing with a BRUTAL and EVIL regime, people who are prepared to do anything to stay in power.

Do you know why M 7 was able to go to the bush to fight the OBOTE regime? Because he knew OBOTE was not EVIL, he would not do anything to hurt the population, just like he knew he would not hurt his(M7s) parents, relatives , friends etc, just like AMIN had not hurt , in fact had protected OBOTES parents.
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+2 #5 ejakait engoraton 2018-02-15 19:37
M 7 would not hesitate for one moment to hurt the relatives, friends of ODONGKARA, ejakait, etc if he knew you were trying to do something to unseat him, the reason they killed Besigyes brother and even the brother of Sejjusa when he made that dash to London.

IT is the very reason they employ the likes of KIBOKO squad, Kalangala boys, Kifeesi, BB 2010 to do their dirty work, because they can turn around, like they have in the past , and say these are criminals whom they do not know and will "make efforts to arrest them and bring them to book".

So the image of the police and security agencies, to atleast those who are naive, remain intact.

YES Ugandans are soft people, something the EVIL in our leader studied and has used to very good effect.

BUT all things come to an end, though this one is likely to be a very ugly one. These people , if made to back up against the wall , will kill anything and everything in sight, BULI KILAMU, as the Baganda say. BE WARNED.
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0 #6 Badang 2018-02-15 20:03
You see, the ET PM can get a job at UN unlike our truly who cannot even pay his workers at a farm in Kawumu- Luweero.

Instead, they are put on State House Payroll as cleaning staff!
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