There has been some unrest in Ethiopia since Monday night, we thought it would be of interest to write a few lines on these events.

BACKGROUND

Hachalu Hundessa, a 34 year Oromo Activist and Musician was murdered on Monday evening; He was known as a defender of the rights of the Oromo people, he counted with many supporters among the Oromo youth; arrested and imprisoned as a teenager for protesting against the government and an organizer of the protests in 2018 that led to the fall of the previous regime that saw a rise to power of the current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a fellow Oromo. Abiy Ahmed has embarked on a series of reforms dismantling the previously oppressive regime giving more freedom to the people to protest and allowing dissent to be more freely expressed by the people. Abiy’s efforts to build a freer and more cohesive society were internationally recognized in 2019 when he was given that year’s Nobel Peace Prize. More recently the government postponed this year’s General Election indefinitely due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION

Following the announcement of Hachalu Hundessa’s death many of his fans and sympathisers started gathering and protesting in Addis and other Oromia Region towns (Harar, Chiro, Adama and Ambo – Hachalu’s home town) showing their anger by burning tyres and toppling statues; The protests have been violently broken up by police and the army resulting in some deaths and injuries to protesters. The internet and power have been cut off in many areas and phone communication is difficult. The Government is not condoning the protests and the police say they are investigating the murder. The BBC is reporting that fellow activist Jawar Mohammed has been arrested, Jawar has been a frequent critic of the Government and strong promoter of Oromo causes. 

sourced by BBC

OUR VIEW ON THE SITUATION

There is undoubtedly much frustration with the Government, delayed elections, loss of power by the supporters of the previous regime, perceptions that reforms are too slow, economic slowdown added to the effects of the pandemic on the population. In addition, Egypt and Ethiopia are at odds due to the latter’s damning of the Nile, which is at a critical stage since Ethiopia says that it will start filling the damn this month of July. We hope that the Government will be able to manage the current unrest with care and that things do not spin out of control. Yesterday Addis was closed for business, residents stayed at home avoiding any chance of getting caught up in trouble. Likewise, all shippers and our own office were closed for business on Tuesday and today remain closed. We shall monitor the situation and advise on developments over the coming days.

by Charles Seara Cardoso

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