Ethiopia warns against harassing parliamentarians over martial law

The Ethiopian government warned on Tuesday it will take measures against individuals and groups who are harassing members of parliaments.

The press statement by the Ethiopian government martial law command post said individuals and groups have been calling and even physically confronting parliamentarians especially those from Oromia regional state to warn them from ratifying the martial law.

The Ethiopian parliament is set to convene from its year recess on Friday, with the ratification of martial law across the country expected to be a top priority.

Ethiopia council of ministers imposed martial law on February 15 amid sporadic protests and ethnic clashes especially in the two most populous regional states Oromia and Amhara.

According to Ethiopian law, the federal parliament must approve by two thirds majority the institution of martial law within 15 days of the council of ministers to give it legal cover.

Exiled activists especially from Oromia and Amhara regional states have in recent days been posting phone contact details and physical addresses of parliamentarians to pressure them to reject the institution of martial law.

Parliamentarians from Amhara and Oromia regional states make up more than 60 percent of Ethiopia’s 547 seat federal parliament giving them the power to potentially nullify the martial law decree.

Ethiopia had previously declared martial law in October 2016 in the wake of widespread protests in parts of the two most populous regional states. The martial law was lifted in August 2017, after the easing of protests.

The unrest in 2016 led to the deaths of hundreds and was dubbed by analysts as the gravest challenge the ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front faced in 25 years.

However, sporadic deadly protests especially in Amhara and Oromia regional states in recent months have renewed fears about Ethiopia’s stability, East Africa’s largest economy.

Protesters accuse the central government based in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa of marginalizing their political and economic demands.

Source: Xinhua

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