The House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) on November 5, 2020, ratified a State of Emergency (SoE) in Tigray regional state for a period of six months.
Following measures by the government to take military action against the armed forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on Wednesday, the Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency in the region.
During its 3rd regular session, the House debated on the provisions of the latest bill presented by Deputy Whip Mesfin Chernet. He told lawmakers that the government has been dragged into taking military action in Tigray due to actions taken by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party administering the region.
He said: “The illegal actions of the TPLF elites are now beyond the containment of ordinary actions of rule of law. They passed the boundaries of law and order and cannot be controlled or prevented under routine law enforcement mechanisms.”
He further raised the attacks by the armed forces of the TPLF on the Ethiopian Defense Forces Northern Command as an action that warrants immediate response from the federal government.
“There shall be no time to spend on this, we shall act on it as soon as possible,” he told the House demanding MPs vote the bill through without referring it to a Standing Committee for further revisions.
The aim of the State of Emergency is said to be protection of the constitution, the constitutional order as well as the wellbeing of the public.
MPs discussed the bill and stated their unified support to the State of Emergency. During the discussion, MPs voiced their opposition to the actions taken by the leaders of the TPLF whom the MPs accused of bearing the desire to regain the power they lost through illegal means. The MPs denounced the reported attacks by the armed forces of the TPLF on the ENDF.
The MPs unanimously ratified the State of Emergency as Proclamation No. 1228/2013 in what they called “a unified decision.”
A taskforce led by General Adem Mohammed, Chief-of-Staff of the ENDF, and composed of representatives from pertinent institutions has been established to oversee the implementation of the State of Emergency, the council of Ministers disclosed in a statement it issued a day earlier. The taskforce is accountable to the Prime Minister.
In the meantime, the House approved the appointment of six members to the State of Emergency Inquiry Board, responsible for monitoring and supervising the implementation of the decree.
Accordingly, these members include: Lemma Tessema (appointed as Chairman of the Board), Jembernesh Kinfe, Hawa Alli, Alebachew Lakew, Zerihun Petros, Askal Tillahun and Wendimu Gizaw.
After a few comments both in favor and against the appointees, the House ratified the nominations with six voting against them.
The State of Emergency will be implemented in Tigray Regional State but other areas might be included under the emergency as per the decision of the task force. The Attorney General, Gedion Timotiwos (PhD), told the media on Thursday that the State of Emergency could also be implemented outside the Tigray region, if the task force finds it necessary.
The military confrontation has come a few days after the horrific massacre of dozens of people in Western Oromia regional State, for which the TPLF officials stand accused of masterminding.
In a televised statement after the midnight of Wednesday, November 4, 2020, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) announced that the armed forces of the TPLF attacked the ENDF’s Northern Command stationed in the Tigray region for more than two decades, attempting to rob artillery and military equipments.