Addis Abeba – The ruling Prosperity Party (PP) issued a stern warning to opposition “political actors” and social media influencers to refrain from “illegal and unprincipled activities” related to the federal government’s move to disband and reintegrate controversial regional spacial forces.
The ruling party defended the move saying the “origin and destination” of all its positions and actions is “Ethiopia’s existence, greatness, prosperity, and the peace of its people.”
The party said this in the midst of mass protests happening in various cities and towns in the Amhara region since Friday last week. Residents who spoke with Addis Standard said that clashes broke out between government security forces and, civilians as well as between members of the regional special forces and the national army in some cities. The Washington Post reported this afternoon that “at least four people, including two Ethiopian aid workers with Catholic Relief Services, were killed in the town of Kobo after the federal military clashed with a volunteer civilian Amhara militia known as Fano” in the town of Kobo over the weekend.
Although the government said that its decision to dissolve and include regional special forces into various security structures include the army and the federal and regional police, and that the process was based on “long standing research” to improve “the training, armament and living conditions of a centralized army” based on the constitution, its moves have been met stance in the Amhara region where protests that started on Friday continued until today.
In today’s statement, the ruling PP said that the issue was the subject of its “campaign for the sixth national election” and that it has “made our position clear to the public that we will reorganize the special forces of the regions according to the constitution.”
The party further defended the move saying that “only the federal government has the responsibility and authority to build a national army to protect the country and the people from any attack and enemy.”
It warned “some” unnamed opposition “political parties and their leaders, as well as individuals who claim to be social issues activists present the issue as a matter of disarming only one region” and added that this “can be easily understood that their goal is to amass cheap political gains and to try to mislead the public to gain temporary acceptance.”
The party further characterized the unnamed political actors as trying to spread “poisonous information” by “fanatical forces” that are trying to “present this decision as a specific decision only for the Amhara region” and said that it “is completely false.”
The party’s statement is the latest in a flurry of statements issued over the weekend both by PM Abiy Ahmed, who is also the president of the ruling party, the president of the Amhara regional state and the deputy chief of staff of Ethiopian defense forces all stressing that the government will not back down from its proposed move to disband the controversial regional state forces.