By Scott A Morgan
The Ethiopian Government currently has been having some major issues over the last few months. One of the internal security matters that they have tried to keep under wraps is showing signs of unraveling. They are also afraid things could get worse.
The situation in the Oriomo Region has been a bane in the existence of the Ethiopian Government for decades. This is a region that has not seen the investments by Foreign Donors as other parts of the Country has. It adjoins Somalia so the instability there can be considered to be a factor in the clan violence that permeates the Horn of Africa. But how the authorities in Addis responds to this has created more issues than what has been wanted.
So far, it appears that the latter scenario has been playing out. Several weeks ago there was a Religious Festival, in Oromo, in which some members of the Opposition appeared. Reportedly there were rocks thrown at the Police who responded with Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas and even Live Ammunition. The result was that dozens of people died and the regime was embarrassed. Or so we thought.
After a period of national mourning, the Government dropped the hammer. It declared a Nationwide State of Emergency. It has been trying to curtail the free flow of information by detaining bloggers who actually have been revealing the horrific details of what actually happened at Lake Hora. Several Governments have become concerned at the state of affairs in the Country.
But the Government's reaction may create tensions with various countries regarding the safety of their citizens. Recently, the United States saw fit to issue a new travel warning regarding the situation inside Ethiopia. One of the methods of delivery of this message was by text message to those US Citizens who have alerted the Embassy in Addis and requested security updates. This message was blocked by the Ethiopian Government. The UK and Turkey have recently issued the same concerns as well, but there are no reports yet of communications being disrupted. Some of the restrictions were lifted during a recent visit by German Chancellor Merkel.
Ethiopia is the most recent of the New Democratic States that garnered some negative feedback for having entrenched leadership that has maintained power through dubious means. That means that the optimism that arose during the 1990s has soured more than two decades later. This also shows that Africa is not immune from the rise of repressive ideals that have gained strength around the world over the last few years.
[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]