The Oromo Doctors and Nurses are on strike in Oromia region, Ethiopia. They’re telling the government to “stop murdering of innocent civilians. Reportedly, the Medics are seen protesting on the streets while on their professional gown while chanting we are sick and tired of seeing the Wounded and dead bodies of the innocent people that are killed by government’s security forces every day.
What I find alarming even more so than the individual charges levelled against us is the state of the overall justice system in this country. Allow me to address this not just to the bench presiding over this case but also to the second-man in charge of the Attorney General’s Office who is present amongst us in this courtroom today. The justice system is under the total control of the ruling party and has utterly failed due to political interference by those in positions of power. I would like for you to understand this.
It is evident from the prosecution’s request for the court to grant anonymity for witnesses so they can testify against us from behind-the-curtain that this is a political trial. And the fact one of the witnesses was dropped today and that four others were dropped the other day further demonstrates that the entire exercise is politically motivated.
I am not saying this because I’m terrified of prison. When I made the decision to join politics, it’s with the full knowledge that such eventualities might arise and with the conviction to accept any consequences. Prison is an elementary challenge. I’m ready to die for my people and for the cause I believe in. If I die today, I go with a peace of mind and a smile on my face. I won’t have any regrets. I’m pleading with you not out of the personal desire to get a favourable ruling on this case but because I want the country’s judicial system to improve for the sake of future generations.
This reminds me of the ordeals the earliest Oromo nationalist movement leaders had to go through inside the courtrooms of Imperial Ethiopia [and the death penalty they were given] 40 years ago; trailblazers such as Captain Mamo Mezemir who graduated with great honours from the then imperial military academy. What is happening to the current crop of leaders (potentially his grand children) today is no different. This is disgraceful. Political differences are resolved through dialogue, not in a litigation before a court of law. This exercise helps neither our politics nor the country’s judicial system. On the contrary, it will further worsen the political polarisation, courts will lose public trust and this will precipitate the disintegration of the country.
All evidences indicate that that is where we’re heading.
The current Prime Minister had apologised for putting freedom advocates through a reign of terror for 27 years in contravention of the constitution and the laws of the country, and had admitted that that was a wrong path to follow. However, what we’re witnessing is a continuation of the same old unlawful practice. I maintain that political differences cannot be resolved in a court of law and that no resolution will come out of such futile undertakings. I urge you to stop wasting the resources and energy of everyone involved. You can jail us as you please, free us as you please or hang us if you deem it necessary but I implore you to stop the blatant mockery of justice and the law. I thank you!
Translated from the Afaan Oromo version originally published by
Ethiopia’s “@NobelPrize winning reformer” builds dancing fountains for the rich in Addis while torturing Oromo political prisoners in Oromia. We have seen worse. The same dictator shamelessly preaches about “love,” “brotherhood” and “prosperity.” #AbiyMustGo#OromoProtestshttps://t.co/gIVnAbjmcK