The killing of Hachalu Hundesa, an Oromo musician and rights activist on June 29, 2020, has sent shock waves of anger, resentment and frustration throughout Ethiopia. Millions of his fans, citizens across all ethnic and faith groups and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia have been deeply saddened by this disturbing and tragic incident.
Following his death, protesters took to the streets in Oromia region and the capital Addis Ababa on June 30 2020 to express their grievance and to demand justice for the death of Hachalu. But not all of them were peaceful. In the course of the protests, many citizens, including government security members lost their lives. Hundreds of people were wounded and private and state properties estimated in millions of birr were destroyed within two days.
The government of Ethiopia has been working day and night to uncover the identities of all those involved in the killing of Hachalu and the masterminds behind this heinous act. We would like to assure all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia that the government will leave no stone unturned until justice is served and the perpetrators face justice.
The government of Ethiopia would like to highlight that there are a number of rumors and misinformation being spread through social and traditional media on the political situation in the country and the legal measures undertaken by the government following this tragic incident.
Some international media have reported that the government had “unlawfully” arrested opposition leaders. Some others have claimed that democratization process started two years ago is rolling back. Some others went to the extent of saying that government has continued to “marginalize” certain ethnic groups. This is an attempt to paint a wrong picture of the current political situation by highlighting piecemeal information, with little effort to delve into what really caused the current incident.
The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia feels responsible that it has to set a correct context in order to clarify the existing confusion and bring about clarity regarding facts on the ground and the transparency of its operation.
We cannot fully grasp the current situation without understanding two main contexts that have to be put together in order to have a better understanding: 1. Unabated attempt made by aggrieved forces to perpetuate political tensions 2.
Increasing political polarization and the negative role of media in creating ethnic tensions Unabated attempt made by aggrieved forces to perpetuate political tension When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, Ethiopia ushered in a new era of democratization and economic, political and social transformation. The government of Ethiopia has undertaken bold reforms that has given hope to millions in Ethiopia and beyond.
Opposition leaders and banned media groups in exile as well as armed groups, were given amnesty and welcomed back home; oppressive laws were changed; freedom of expression and media freedom was fully granted and many more bold reforms were undertaken by the government.
Ethiopia re-established diplomatic ties with Eritrea, leaving behind decades-long animosity and letting the atmosphere of peace breathe into in the Horn of Africa. These changes have brought hope to many citizens of the country, neighboring countries and the world at large. But they did not make everybody happy. As much as it had brought waves of hope to millions, it has also aggrieved some forces whose unfair political and economic upper hand was challenged as a consequence of the reforms.
One of the perils of our nation’s politics for more than a century has been political marginalization and exclusion of different forms. The current administration strongly believes that the political culture of exclusion and marginalization should come to an end and a new era of trust, togetherness and true federalism should start. It is with this strong belief and hope that the government made unprecedented decisions to open up the political space, inviting all political parties in exile, to come back home and engage in peaceful political struggle.
Nevertheless, while the government believes that the way of reform is arduous and full of challenges, it should be mentioned here that the government has been under constant and unrestrained pressure from disgruntled forces, organizing and supporting anti-peace elements, by using the economic and political muscles they have built over the last three decades, in order to undermine this inevitable reform process.
It should be clear to friends and foes alike that the current Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has a strong desire, commitment and capacity to build a democratic order based on equality and respect of fundamental rights and dignity of every citizen. Any inordinate desire to maintain political and economic supremacy at the expense of millions of citizens is unacceptable and unjustifiable.
The government will continue fighting against unjust political, economic and social relationships in order to bring about a true democracy and genuine economic and social transformation in Ethiopia, reflective of the context. Ethiopia: A New Horizon of Hope