News: Tigray region says it will defy federal laws enacted as of Oct. 05; EDP calls for transitional gov’t, inclusive dialogue & reconciliation

Asmelash Wolde Sellassie during the interview with Tigray Mass Media Agency

Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne &

Medihane Ekubamichael @Medihane

Addis Abeba, September 29/2020 – In an interview aired on Tigray Mass Media Agency, Asmelash Wolde Sellassie, executive member of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the governing party of Tigray regional state, said the region will not comply with laws, directives, and regulations, among others, to be enacted by the federal government after its current term in office came to an end on October 05/2020.

Asmelash, who was the former chief government whip, said that on October 05, the constitutional term limit for both the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR), the House of Federation (HoF), Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Council of Ministers (CoM) he chairs will have come to an end, rendering the incumbent’s stay in power “constitutionally illegal.” The excerpt of Asmelash’s interview was also published on TPLF’s official Facebook page.

Getachew Reda, another executive member of TPLF, confirmed to Addis Standard that Asmelash’s statement was that of the position of Tigray regional state. Tigray region “will be probably be beholden” to laws, regulations and directives to be enacted by the current legislative until October 05, anything beyond that will not be legitimate in Tigray, according Getachew.

Tigray regional state has unilaterally conducted the 6th election for the regional council, which was subsequently formed on September 24. The newly formed council has also appointed TPLF’s Chairman Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD) as the regional president.

Asmelash further said that the regional state will recall all its its representatives from the HoPR and the HoF after October 05 on grounds that the region will not become a part of an “illegitimate government.” Asked what would be the way out, he referred to a recent statement issued by the Coalition of Ethiopian Federalist Forces. The statement issued on September 17 suggested, among others, “a formation of an independent technocratic caretaker government the composition of which reflects the diversity of the Ethiopian people.”

The Coalition’s statement further said that “the formation of the technocratic care taker government will be carried out in line with the constitution and in consultation with all political stake holders and will be in charge until such time the peace and national salvation conference comes up with an agreed solution to the political and constitutional problems.” It also called for an “immediate convention of an all-inclusive peace and salvation conference in which all Ethiopian political parties, representatives of the Ethiopian people’s, nations and nationalities, federal and regional civic and professional associations with broad constituency and membership take part;” and “the establishment of a council of elders comprising of people who earn respect and confidence from all stakeholders and who reflect the diversity of the Ethiopian people. The council will be mandated to facilitate the formation of the peace and national salvation conference.”

EDP calls for transitional gov’t, inclusive dialogue and reconciliation

Meanwhile the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) said its Executive Committee held an emergency meeting on September 28, 2020 and adopted a call for “a comprehensive reconciliation and transitional government and an inclusive dialogue” to facilitate both, “to save the country from the current crisis.”

In a statement posted on its Facebook page EDP said that it will continue pushing for a platform for an all inclusive dialogue. EDP’s senior official and its founder Lidetu Ayalew is currently in jail in Oromia regional state facing criminal charges on alleged violation of Ethiopia’s newsy enacted “Firearm Administration & Control Proclamation.” Oromia police have initially accused Lidetu of producing a document suggesting the formation of a transitional government.

He is now entangled in a twisted legal course as his court granted bail was contested by the police and blocked by Oromia prosecutors on two occasions and he remained in Oromia police custody.

In addition to the call for a transitional government and reconciliation, and an all inclusive national dialogue to facilitate both, EDP’s Executive Committee discussed the current affairs of the country and set out future strategies for the party, the statement said, adding the country’s current situation is worsening day by day and the decision to hold elections under such circumstances will only exacerbate the crisis.

The statements from TPLF and EDP came just days after General Berhanu Jula, Deputy Chief of Staff & Military Operations Division Head of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), issued a stern warning that the army will be “forced to take actions against anyone who claims to violate the constitution.” He also warned those who say the incumbent’s constitutional mandate ends in October 2020 and are planning to do as they wish to refrain from such illegal acts. AS

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