Ethiopia is in a deep political crisis and the situation is worsening by the day. An administration that came to power with a promise of reform, freedom, and prosperity is fast sliding into a one-man dictatorship. Currently, human and political rights are being violated. The right of people for self-administration is scrapped. People who express their grievances are violently silenced and criminalized. Politically driven violence and inter-communal conflicts have displaced millions from their homes and villages. Opposition politics is literally banned and most opposition party leaders are thrown into jail. In a bid to unconstitutionally cling to power, the regime has canceled the May 2020 national election. The federal government’s repressive practices are inescapably plunging the country into a crisis it can’t easily untangle itself from. The state of the Ethiopian economy is equally alarming. The rate of unemployment and the cost of living have become unacceptably high and are complicating the already tense social and political environment. The country’s economic policy formulation and even implementation are being outsourced.
The government has completed all the policy and administrative preparations to sell flagship projects and lucrative public assets to multinationals in a questionable and non-transparent process. The justice system and the federal and regional Houses of Representatives function under the direct directive of the head of the regime and there is no institution to turn to for redress. By controlling both public and private media, the group in power has turned them into a destructive tool to incite ethnic violence and criminalize political opposition. Independent journalists who are faithful to their conscience and ethical standards of their profession are routinely persecuted. In each passing day, the regime is making peaceful and lawful politics impossible.
The federal government has currently escalated the intensity and scale of its repressive measures against the people and its leaders. Unless the national political crisis unsettling the country is resolved in time, Ethiopia can surely slide into disintegration and this will have long-term and far-reaching destabilizing consequences on the security, peace, and stability of the Horn of Africa and Southern Red Sea. It will also pose a threat to international peace and security.
Ethiopian political and civic organizations and the Ethiopian people at large have, therefore, reached a historical time when we should stand together to dispel the specter of mayhem and disintegration hovering over our country. To this end, we, The Coalition of Ethiopian Federalist Forces, apprehensive about the recent dangerous political developments in the country, hereby present to the Ethiopian people and all political and civic organizations, the following call for peace and national salvation. We,
1. Urge the federal government to halt with immediate effect all the killings and atrocities against innocent people and declare its readiness for a peaceful transition and express it in practical and objective terms.
2. Urge the federal and regional governments to unconditionally release all political prisoners including political leaders incarcerated to dampen opposition political views.
3. Demand all foreign security forces, especially the security forces deployed by President Isayas Afeworki’s regime of Eritrea, to immediately leave the country.
4. Demand the lifting of the de facto military administration installed in many parts of the country, abolish the command posts, and limit the function of the federal army to its constitutional boundary. Stop all forms of assault directed against the constitutionally sanctioned right of regional states to administer themselves. In line with their constitutional authority, the responsibility of ensuring peace and rule of law at federal and state levels should be solely bestowed to federal and regional police forces.
5. Agree to an immediate convention of an all-inclusive peace and salvation conference in which all Ethiopian political parties, representatives of the Ethiopian people’s, nations and nationalities, federal and regional civic and professional associations with broad constituency and membership take part. The conference shall deliberate on all facets of the political problems facing the country and chart out strategies and solutions for addressing them. It also prepares an enabling environment for conducting a free and fair election and the establishment of a legitimate government in the country.
6. Agree to the establishment of a council of elders comprising of people who earn respect and confidence from all stakeholders and who reflect the diversity of the Ethiopian people. The council will be mandated to facilitate the formation of the peace and national salvation conference.
7. Agree to the formation of an independent technocratic caretaker government the composition of which reflects the diversity of the Ethiopian people. The formation of the technocratic caretaker government will be carried out in line with the constitution and in consultation with all political stakeholders and will be in charge until such time the peace and national salvation conference come up with an agreed solution to the political and constitutional problems.
8. Resolve that an independent body investigates all the allegations of human rights violations, large scale atrocities, political assassinations, and corruption of both EPRDF and post-April 2018 Prime Minister Abiy’s period of administration. The outcome of the investigation should be made public to the Ethiopian people and the investigating body should also separate pardonable offenses and those that are subject to legal persecution to be dealt with by a court of law.
9. Propose that media institutions function in line with their constitutional boundaries and focus on national salivation efforts. To this end, demand the establishment of an agreed system and procedure of managing the public media.
10. Appeal to regional and international partners to support the efforts to bring the country back from the brink and avert the ominous danger of a political crisis that could potentially pose threat to regional and international peace and security.
11. Call upon the Ethiopian peoples, nations and nationalities, the Ethiopian defense and security forces, and all political and civic organizations to support this historic call for peace and national salvation.
The Coalition of Ethiopian Federalist Forces National Salvation