Addis Abeba – During the just concluded parliamentary session today, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed answered questions from lawmakers, Desalegen Chane, an MP from National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) suggested that the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) to “hand over power to an interim civilian administration,” as well as for the national parliament to dissolve in order to “pave the way for new elections.”
MP Desalegn suggested this “as neither the leader of the Prosperity Party nor the Parliament” are in a position to solve “the political crisis” the country is experiencing at the moment.
PM Abiy Ahmed while noting that there are issues that his administration needs to draw lesson from, hits back at the MP’s remarks as only “useful for the consumption of YouTube and Facebook”.
What did the MP say?
“The political, economic and social problems of our country, which have been getting more complicated since Prime Minister Abiy came to power in March 2010 [April 2018], have now reached the point where it is impossible to cover up that they have turned into a full0fledged crisis,” MP Desalegn said.
The MP read a long list of crises compounding the country, including, but not limited to, the right of free movement of civilians, the lack of fertilizer supply farmers are facing, soaring cost of living, rampant kidnappings, the ailing economy and the political repression and war the Amhara region and Amhara elite are subjected to.
“The people of Ethiopia are suffering from poverty and hunger,” MP Desalegn said, adding “the economy is sick, and the middle class has been reduced to poverty.”
The country has “become a land of blood” to as extent one can say all parts of the country, he said, and mentioned that the entire Amara region has become a new war zone, whereas others wars are ravaging Oromia, Benishangul Gumuz, and Gambella regions. Furthermore, Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions have been destroyed due to the “useless war between the Prosperity Party and TPLF” and “most areas of southern Ethiopia are not different from others.”
Millions of citizens have lost their lives in the last five years after the coming of the current government, according to MP Desalegn, and “the main responsibility” for this full-fledged national crisis and destruction or national failure is the Prosperity government and your failed leadership,” he said addressing PM Abiy. “Although the ruling party promised to bring prosperity, it actually brought poverty to the people of Ethiopia.”
If the ruling party cannot bring the country out of these crises and the main opposition parties are “servants” of the ruling Prosperity Party, they are part of the problem and “there will be no solution expected from these parties.”
“What is the solution for [your] failed leadership”, he asks PM Abiy and went on suggesting if it shouldn’t be better to prepare a national convention to find a solution to the national crisis. “As a representative of the people, I would like to ask the members of the House of Representatives to dissolve the House” in accordance with Article 60/1 of the constitution and pave the way for new elections, as neither the leader of the Prosperity Party nor the Parliament can help the country out of the political crises it is in, MP Desalegn concluded.
How did the PM respond?
Addressing the MP, PM Abiy remarked that it is “not good” to discard all the criticisms brought forward against his party and administration as there are important issues to draw lesson from. He however said “it is problematic to present everything as wrongdoing as it is problematic presenting everything as correct”.
“There are issues that we admit we need to work on areas of economy, peace etc. but the generalization that Ethiopia is in darkness, can be met with responses such as Ethiopia is the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, first in East Africa and a country building strong institutions,” he said.
The PM also gave a counter-incriminating response to the criticism of MP Desalegn that “Tigray Amara and Afar regions have been destroyed due to the “useless war between the Prosperity Party and TPLF.”
“As said if there was a problem between the TPLF and Prosperity [Party], where were you, [NaMA]?” he asked the MP, and further said that there are also “questions as to why you didn’t mediate.”
“It’s not appropriate to give the blame to a certain party after we’ve inflamed conflict… Whoever started the conflict, it was not good.”
Furthermore, he countered the MP saying that “such remarks are useful for the consumption of YouTube and Facebook, but not for the generation”.
Regarding the MP’s suggestion for fresh elections to be held, the PM responded saying that he appreciates the idea of election as it is not something the opposition often favors.
“The problem with opposition groups is that they often don’t want elections, they just ask us to step down only for them to grab power. Asking for elections to take place is an important idea, but we have to be patient for three years as we cannot conduct elections every other week,” the PM responded.
He added that his administration is ready to hand over power if not elected by the people on the periodic election after three years. “We will leave the judgement for the people.”
With regard to what the MP referred to as the leadership failure, the PM said “the ruling Prosperity Party did not say your leadership has failed us”. As such, “my leadership failure is the issue of Prosperity Party” he noted. AS