February 16, 2018 - The day in Ethiopia: State of Emergency Declared



The day is marked by a declaration of State of Emergency following the resignation of the prime minister, Dessalegn Hailemariam.

Ethiopia in the News Headlines

Reuters: Ethiopia government has lost authority, all parties must help guide reforms: opposition

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s ruling coalition has lost its authority and all parties must help map the country’s future, an opposition leader said on Friday, suggesting political tensions in Africa’s second most populous country are unlikely to ease soon.

Mulatu Gemechu, deputy secretary of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, spoke a day after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who said he was leaving office to smooth reforms.

Mulatu said Ethiopia needed a completely new political system after years of political unrest in the two most populous regions of the Horn of Africa country. “Ethiopians now need a government that respects their rights, not one that keeps beating and killing them,” he told Reuters.

Rights advocates have frequently criticized Ethiopia’s government for mass arrests and long jail terms handed to political opponents and journalists.


A wave of strikes and demonstrations hit towns near Addis Ababa this week as protesters successfully pressed demands for jailed opposition leaders to be released. On Friday, the U.S. embassy suspended travel outside the capital for its staff.

The Oromo Federalist Congress is one of seven parties that make up the biggest opposition coalition, MEDREK.

Mulatu’s views were echoed in the Oromo heartlands of central Ethiopia, the site of a series of violent protests against Hailemariam’s government in 2015 and 2016.

“Our land can’t continue being taken from us. Oromos should not be jailed for exercising their rights,” said Dinkissa, a university student in Ambo, a town in the region.

“Oromos have been always mistreated. His (the prime minister‘s) resignation will not mean anything unless our rights are respected. Whoever comes to power should know that. Otherwise, we will not stop protesting.”

The government has also grappled with several armed groups in the past decade, some of which it has designated as terrorists.

Among them are the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which has fought the government since 1994 and draws support from some of the country’s ethnic Somali population. Somalia and Ethiopia share a long and porous border.

This week the ONLF and Ethiopian authorities held private talks in Nairobi, an observer present at the discussions told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A tentative accord was reached on a ceasefire, prisoner releases, boundaries between the Somali and Oromiya regions of Ethiopia, and economic development, the observer said. But a final deal was not signed since the ONLF wanted a signatory from Ethiopia’s central government, rather than the head of the Somali region, who represented the government at the talks.

The Guardian: State of emergency declared in Ethiopia amid political unrest


Ethiopia has announced a state of emergency after prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday announced his intention to step down amid a political crisis in the country.

The ruling EPRDF coalition’s council met on Friday and decided to impose emergency rule for an unspecified period, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said. The council “came to the conclusion that imposing emergency rule would be vital to safeguarding the constitutional order of our country”. Further details are expected to be given by the defence minister on Saturday morning.

An opposition leader said earlier on Friday the ruling coalition had lost its authority and that all parties must help map the country’s future.

Mulatu Gemechu, deputy secretary of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, said Ethiopia needed a completely new political system after years of unrest. “Ethiopians now need a government that respects their rights, not one that keeps beating and killing them,” he said.

Rights advocates have frequently criticised Ethiopia’s government for mass arrests and long jail terms handed to political opponents and journalists. But more than 6,000 political prisoners have been freed since January as the government has struggled to quell discontent.

The prime minister’s resignation followed a wave of strikes and demonstrations demanding the release of more opposition leaders.

OPRIDE: PM Hailemariam Desalegn has resigned. What’s next for Ethiopia?

(OPride) – In a shocking televised statement on Thursday, Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn announced stepping down as the country’s Prime Minister and chairperson of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). It came in the midst of a political turmoil and the release of high-profile religious leaders, opposition politicians, and journalists.

Hailemariam’s departure was widely expected. The two questions on everyone’s mind now are: What comes next? Who will succeed him? Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu Woldekidan? Speaker of the House Abbadula Gamada? Deputy President of Oromia State, Abiy Ahmed? Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen Hassen? Given the ongoing bitter succession struggle within the party, the answer to those questions remain as unclear to observers as it is for EPRDF leaders.

Bloombert: Ethiopia Faces Watershed Moment After Prime Minister Resigns

Ethiopia’s ruling party faces a stark choice after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignation: appoint a hardliner to end months of dissent, or replace him with someone who’ll allow greater political freedom.

Its decision will determine whether one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies stabilizes or descends into widespread civil unrest and bloodshed, said analysts including Hallelujah Lulie, an independent analyst in Addis Ababa, the capital.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front has faced sporadic, often deadly demonstrations since 2015. A state of emergency the following year failed to curb the turmoil mainly in the Oromia and Amhara regions – home to the biggest ethnic groups who say they’re excluded from political and economic power. Last month, the government changed tack, announcing the release of hundreds of political prisoners and promising further reforms.

“The resignation has significant symbolic relevance, but its implications on the political economy depends on who will replace him and in what terms,” Hallelujah said. “The transition will be incomplete without overhauling the politics of economic decision-making and liberalizing the political sphere.”


BBC: Ethiopia declares national state of emergency

A national state of emergency has been declared in Ethiopia just one day after the unexpected resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

A statement by the state broadcaster said the move was necessary to stem a wave of anti-government protests.

Hundreds of people have died in three years of unrest in the country.

A 10-month state of emergency that ended last year failed to stop the protests, as did the release from jail of thousands of opposition supporters.

Aljazeera: Ethiopia declares state of emergency after PM quits

Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency, a day after the country’s prime minister abruptly resigned.
The measure was announced on Friday by the Council of Ministers, the Ethiopian government’s cabinet, according to state broadcaster EBC.

AllAfrica - Ethiopia: Govt to Declare Three Month State of Emergency As of Today

The Council of ministers is set to declare a state of emergency for three months as of this morning, a source close to the government told Addis Standard. The military will be in charge via a command post, which will be “reporting to the Prime Minister,” according to our source.

The move follows yesterday’s resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn both as Prime Minister, Chairman of EPRDF and his own party, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM).

The Economist: Ethiopia’s prime minister resigns

Hailemariam’s resignation had in fact been expected for several months. Hailemariam was the handpicked successor of Meles Zenawi, the former strongman whose 17-year rule ended abruptly with his death from cancer in 2012. But he was a weak and undistinguished leader. His time in office has been marked by a deadly cycle of anti-government protests stifled only temporarily by a nine-month state of emergency. The prime minister is said to have tried to resign more than once over the past year, though colleagues persuaded him to stay in his post until at least this year’s party congress, which had been scheduled for March but is widely expected to be postponed until later in the year.

Hailemariam says he will stay in office until a successor is found. Whoever it is will face powerful headwinds. The new prime minister will need to satisfy the still unfulfilled demands of protesters, who want more democracy and to shake off what many see as domination by the TPLF, while preventing the break-up of the fragile ruling coalition. And he may face opposition from hardliners in the military and intelligence services, which have real clout in Ethiopian politics and are still dominated by Tigrayans. “Any meaningful change still depends on how these political developments reach the security apparatus,” says Hallelujah Lulie of Amani Africa, a consultancy based in the capital, Addis Ababa. “The deep state is still intact.”

Democracy Now: Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns

Ethiopia’s prime minister said Thursday he will step down from office, after a massive wave of protests undermined his party’s grip on power. The surprise resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn came just days after Ethiopia released senior Oromo opposition leader Bekele Gerba from prison and just weeks after Ethiopia’s government said it would release political prisoners and close an infamous prison in the capital, Addis Ababa.

DailyNation: Ethiopia declares state of emergency

Ethiopia on Friday declared a state of emergency one day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation, state media reported.

“A state of emergency has been declared as of now,” Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said, citing a decision by the council of ministers.


Democracy Digest: Reform or repression? Ethiopia ‘faces watershed moment’ after PM resigns

Welcoming newly released political prisoners - Shashemenne

Photo by Amensisa Ifa



Alert – U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (February 16, 2018)

As of February 16, 2018, a State of Emergency is in effect.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa.

SoE per VOA