(Africa News) — Three opposition parties in Ethiopia have reacted to the reforms promised by the leadership of the ruling Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) stating that ‘there is nothing new in the statement.’
Leaders of the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (MEDREK), Blue Party and All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP) agreed that the press conference of January 3, 2018 revealed that the government was now admitting the main problem Ethiopia faces and its seriousness.
According to them, the regime has in the past conveniently externalized Ethiopia’s political crisis and blamed it on anti-peace elements but the recent pronouncements by EPRDF’s Executive Committee and the presser by PM Desalegn meant they were willing to switch gears.
The state-affiliated FBC quotes Yeshiwas Assefa, Chairman of Blue Party as saying: “There was noting new in the first statement and it externalized problem. However, the press conference issued latter by the four heads identified each problem and was strong,” he said.
“I saw four new developments in the outcome of the meeting, and most importantly, the Executive Committee recognized the problem properly,” said Lidetu Ayalew, founder of Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP).
“Previously, EPRDF had been externalizing problems and blaming anti-peace forces. But now, it is a welcome move by the Committee to accept the seriousness of the problem,” he stressed.
Public Relations chief of MEDREK said Addis Ababa should properly respond to questions raised by the public, whiles deputy leader of AEUP said the issues of democracy, rights and identity needed to be tackled headlong.
They said the plan to drop charges and pardon some imprisoned politicians and individuals was a welcome development. They added their voice to calls for the ruling coalition to stick strictly to their promises.
They also raised issues with regards to the country’s anti-terrorism law which is said to be largely arbitrary and granting sweeping powers to the police. Rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty have criticized it and repeatedly called for it to be reviewed.