Addis Ababa (AFP) -(moneyyahoo)– Ethiopia on Wednesday declared a state of emergency to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected 55 people and resulted in two deaths there.
It is the first state of emergency announced under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in 2018 and won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize in part for expanding political freedoms in the authoritarian nation.
“Because the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse, the Ethiopian government has decided to declare a state of emergency under Article 93 of the constitution,” Abiy said in a statement.
“I call upon everybody to stand in line with government bodies and others that are trying to overcome this problem,” he added, warning of “grave legal measures” against anyone who undermines the fight against the pandemic.
It was not immediately clear how the state of emergency would affect day-to-day life in Ethiopia.
The government has so far refrained from imposing a lockdown similar to those in effect elsewhere in the region, including in Rwanda, Uganda and Mauritius.
According to the country’s constitution, under a state of emergency the Council of Ministers has “all necessary power to protect the country’s peace and sovereignty” and can suspend some “political and democratic rights”.
The constitution also says lawmakers need to approve a state of emergency, which can last for six months and be extended every four months after that.
Wednesday’s decree is likely to “beef up security operations with a greater role for the federal government, including the military,” said William Davison, Ethiopia analyst for the International Crisis Group, a conflict-prevention organisation.
“While this approach is understandable given the situation, it is critical that there is transparency over the government’s extra powers and that there is adequate monitoring of implementation,” Davison said.
-Opposition challenges move-
Since reporting its first COVID-19 case on March 13, Ethiopia has closed land borders and schools, freed thousands of prisoners to ease overcrowding, sprayed main streets in the capital with disinfectant, and discouraged large gatherings.
But Abiy said over the weekend that a harsher lockdown would be unrealistic given that there are “many citizens who don’t have homes” and “even those who have homes have to make ends meet daily.”
Jawar Mohammed, a leading opposition politician, said Wednesday this called into question why a state of emergency was necessary.
“Officials have been saying the country is too poor to stop population movement. So why do you need a state of emergency if you are not planning to impose stricter rules?” Jawar told AFP.
During consultations with Abiy earlier this week, the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) voiced worries that a state of emergency would lead to human rights abuses — a well-documented problem under previous states of emergency imposed during several years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power.
“We explained our concern that the state of emergency has been initiated several times and it has been abused to violate the rights of citizens and other political activists,” OLF chairman Dawud Ibsa told AFP.
It’s also unclear how the state of emergency might affect planning for hotly-anticipated general elections in Ethiopia.
The country’s electoral board announced last week that voting planned for August would need to be postponed because of the pandemic.
It did not provide a timeline for when the elections would ultimately be held, and lawmakers’ constitutional mandates expire in October.
Davison, with the International Crisis Group, said the state of emergency could be used “to formally postpone elections” past that deadline, though such a move risks sparking opposition backlash.
“It is therefore essential that the government works with opposition parties on managing this constitutionally sensitive period and making new electoral arrangements,” Davison said.
It’s not immediately clear how day-to-day life will be affected by Ethiopia’s new #COVID19 state of emergency, but opposition politicians are already worried about rights abuses and what it means for elections.
— Robbie Corey-Boulet (@rcoreyb) April 8, 2020
— Tom Gardner (@TomGardner18) April 8, 2020
Kenya confirms 7 new Coronavirus cases (out of 305 tested in last 24 hours).
Total number is now at 179.
5 of these in Nairobi, while Mombasa and Uasin Gishu have 1 each. pic.twitter.com/7PIGvfMzq7
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) April 8, 2020
Investing in Ethiopia’s health workers has been one of our top priorities for many years. This report does a great job of illustrating the return on these investments not only for the healthcare workers, but for communities, for regions and for the entire country. #HealthHeroes https://t.co/ErQyg8URYD
— USAID Ethiopia (@USAIDEthiopia) April 8, 2020
#Ethiopia: @lia_tadesse said the gov’t has prepared 645 houses to be given to healthcare professionals helping #COVID19 patients. Additional 600 houses are under preparation. She also said the ministry is working hard to provide PPE obtained through supports and purchases. https://t.co/tCXJKgHsNi
— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) April 8, 2020
WHO Director Was Member of Human Rights Violating Communist Front in Ethiopia
(thejewishvoice)–In a bombshell article written by John Martin called The Crimes Of Tedros Adhanom it is learned that the current director of the WHO, who is the first WHO director without a medical degree,was a member of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) . Founded as a communist revolutionary party that came to power in 1991, it led a guerrilla campaign against the Mengistu dictatorship and formed a coalition with two other ethnic parties after his exile.
According to one Ethiopian newspaper, Adhanom was listed as the 3rd most important member of the politbureau standing committee in the TPLF.
Martin writes how the TPLF engaged in “systematic discrimination and human rights abuses” by refusing emergency healthcare to the Amhara ethnic group because of their affiliation with the opposition party. The Ministry of Health that oversaw these abuses was led at the time by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
After he was appointed foreign minister of Ethiopia in 2012, dissidents and journalists across the country were subjected to a brutal government crackdown
Birth rates were recorded to be significantly lower in the Amhara region compared to other regions and 2 million Amhara people “disappeared” from the subsequent population census.
Another highlight of this shocking article : In 2016, the Ethiopian government attempted to force relocate 15000 people in the Oromia region because it wanted to requisition their land. This led to mass protests followed by mass shootings and a stampede that killed 500 people according to Human Rights Watch. The government then embarked on another brutal crackdown, arresting 70,000 people.
Adhanom subsequently tried to downplay the violence, falsely claiming the police weren’t armed and that the numbers weren’t as high as stated
This is who is running the WHO, a bloodthirsty communist. We recommend you read this article and spread the word.
Meanwhile Trump attacked the WHO in a recent tweet. Hopefully Trump will take it one step further and demand this communist human rights abuser is removed from his position of power at the WHO
The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020