Ethiopia: The sudden resignation of PM Hailemariam Desalegn, opens up the question for – “Who becomes the next PM?”

Just as the Zone 9, journalist Esikinder Nega and Oromo Federal Congress leader Bekele Gerba has finally been released from prison. Just as this is happening and the three day shutdown of Oromia. As the dozens of political prisoners are still lingering in jail and the TPLF infused government under Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned on national TV today.

We can wonder what is happening and what is the motivation for the change, since the TPLF and the EPRDF under Meles Zenawi was relentless and oppressive, it has been so under this PM too. No denying that and therefore, the civil unrest, that even led to the State of Emergency last year. With all the arrests, detentions and illegal activity from the state to control the regions, where the people are rising up against the minority government in Addis Ababa.

That the Aghazi Squad and the military offensive in the regions hasn’t hurt the drive to demonstrate. Shows the encouragement and the tiredness of the Central Government. That they have taken it too far over time and not been servicing the area. Which is why the roadblocks and closing the delivery of produce to Addis Ababa has hurt the bottom-line for the regime.

I am starting to wonder who will follow the PM and get both his position, but also the chairmanship of TPLF. Because both are important leadership roles in Ethiopia. We can wonder what sort of negotiations and ambition, which is within the Executive Committee of the EPRDF and TPLF. Also, who wants to come from the Central Committee as well.

Seyoum Mesfin might have his ideas, but the bridges are burning, while the Oromo and Amhara protests are bearing fruits. They are hurting the Central Government and their leverage. They cannot just punish and pursuit violence to silence them. The protests and closing of business, the roadblocks and the University uprisings shows the government who are in charge. This is something they cannot deny.

However, I wonder who will take charge and become the next leader. Since PM Hailemariam Desalegn has now suddenly stepped down. We can wonder who pulls the strings and why it happens now after three excessive days of demonstrations and big political prisoners freed. This is all good news, but how good. What is the next move and when will the thousands of prisoners become free from the shacles they are in?

We have to ask and wonder. It is important and proves the power of the Oromia province and Amhara, as they have used their protest to show Addis that they matter. In addition, they do. No one can say otherwise. Demeke Mekonnen Hassen are expected to follow him, but that is surely depending on the CC and EC decisions in the coming days. Also, Michael-Gerbe Debretson, who also possible take his place, even if the odds are bigger on Demeke, then on Michael-Gebre.

So who knows, it is just speculations, but there will be changes and we can wonder how different the new leadership will be compared to the old. Will it be positive reforms or even more oppressive? Will the TPLF listen to other voices or will they be behind the barricades throwing grenades?

We can wonder, but we do know that the PM is important for how the leadership will act towards its citizens. We have seen the change from Zenawi to Hailemariam. It hasn’t been the same, therefore, the next one will be vital for either more protest or more reforms. Peace.

Ethiopia: Qeerroo Oromiyaa Press Release (13.02.2018)

The Oromo protest movement that is on its fourth year now is at the position where it can see the inevitable end of a dying regime. One of the success of this Qeerroo led movement was creating a real crack between the parties that make up the ruling coalition that was dominated by the Tigray People Liberation Front called EPRDF, to which OPDO is also a party. The OPDO along with the newly emerged personalities in the government of Oromia regional state felt the fever of the Qeerroo led movement and indicated an interest of joining the movement to be at the side of the Oromo people.

The movement listened to plea of the new OPDO leaders and paused its active forms of resistance to differ the tasks of presenting Oromos grievances and demands to the government of Oromia region (GOR).

However, after some visible activities that excited many Oromos, the GOR put a brake on the movement and became a unidirectional messenger of the TPLF.

Especially since TPLF started to conduct series of meetings starting with TPLF CC and EC and followed by EPRDF EC meetings, it seemed a clear mission was given to GOR to weaken and dampen the movement. TPLF being sure that GOR took the instructions seriously, started to show defiance and went on an opposite direction in dealing with the movement. That is evident from the serious of killings in Caalanqo, Ambo, Gabragurhacha, Waldiya and just recently in a refugee camp of Hamaraessa.

The fact that the GOR showing weakness in the faces of TPLF’s defiance and that leading to a fear that the movement might go in different direction, created a heightened tension in the spirits of the movement and its Qeeroo leadership. The regime was asked to stop the killings and continued jailing of Oromos for so long, in addition to releasing all political prisoners including the leaders of opposition parties like Bekele Garba and so many others.

The regime that was encouraged by weakness of GOR, wanted to show defiance that it hoped to be understood as intimidation refused to release the prisoners and even denied medical attention to Bekeel Gerba who was on the at the medically verified risk of losing his eye vision as a result of hypertensive complications that warrant emergency healthcare.

It was at this point that the Qeerroo movement decided to be reconnected to its brand form of the struggle that shook one of the strongest dictators in the world to its core.

This week, Qeerroo decided to call one of the most disciplined form of resistance on which millions in Oromia participated. The market boycott strikes called by Qeerroo was started on Monday February 12th, 2018 and aimed to be applied in the entire Oromia.

In this boycott:

1. The regime which knew this peaceful resistance could shake it to the core decided to listen to the demand of the boycott as the boycott plans were underway and being promoted days back, and decided to release Bekele Garba and other political leaders in return to the cancellation of the boycotts. Right at this point, before the Qeerroo did decide on how to respond to the offer for the cancellation, the TPLF soldiers massacred Oromos displaced from Somali region and sheltered at Hameressa camp. This changed the prospects of considering any offer from the regime as something positive, angered the whole Oromo nation and fueled the momentum of the planned strikes.

2. Oromos from coast to coast planned and executed a resistance that is highly disciplined and organized in the absence of the internet that the regime blocked to prevent this type of resistance.

3. The regime suffered a huge economic fallout from the boycott that crippled the entire import export and local markets. This was a huge blow to a regime that monopolized the entire economy. Today, it forcibly released Bekelle Gerba and his six co-defendants.

This happened because Qeerroo decided to be reconnected to its original form of resistance that put forward clear and unambiguous question for the regime to answer.

After securing the release of the said political prisoners, the Qeerroo and Qarree have evaluated on how to go about the remaining one day of the strike and boycott. It has therefore been decided to call off tomorrow’s boycotts and strikes throughout Oromia and use the day’s schedules to welcome the released political prisoners, to unblock the roads and do the clean up in cities and town where the protests went over last two days.

The Qeerroo coordinators would like to extend at most appreciations and respect to the heroic and desciplined actions of everyone who took part on these strikes and boycotts throughout Oromia.

Freedom for the Oromo people, Freedom for all people of Ethiopia!

Qeerroo Oromiyaa

Feb. 13, 2018
Oromiyaa