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Informal associations test govt’s temperament
Nigussu Tilahun, Head of the Press Secretariat at the Office of the Prime Minister

Informal associations test govt’s temperament

Informal associations across the country, which were formed to fight against oppressive regimes in times of difficulty to operate as formal institutions, are now playing roles in place of the government, Nigussu said. This is because of the government’s failure to exploit their potential as a tool to bring about peace and stability and the lack of job creation.

Adding insult to injury, these groups are posing challenges to the democratization process as they limit discussions and dialogues.

Apart from this, “People and groups that want to live by the law of the jungle and not the rule of law, are testing the government’s determination to restore law and order,” Nigussu Tilahun, Head of the Press Secretariat at the Office of the Prime Minister, said at a press conference held on October 31, 2019.

Speaking of current affairs, especially emphasizing on the recent attacks in Oromia Regional State, Nigussu said that the government has been tolerating various illegalities in the country believing that this would support the transition process since April 2, 2018. But there are some groups that are using this gap to portray a weak image of the government, in addition to others that push the government to take forceful actions so as to discredit the change and claim that the previous way of addressing dissidents is being restored, he said, indicating that such moves had been detected from the recent attacks in Oromia.

Nigussu said the elderly and religious fathers played roles in controlling the recent ethnic and religious attacks in various towns of Oromia region which claimed the lives of 78 individuals and displaced innumerable residents.

Since the outbreak of the attacks on October 22, 2019, the government has been involved in controlling the situation, arresting about 409 individuals suspected of participating in the killings and attacks, and providing humanitarian assistance for those displaced because of the conflicts.

“We are working towards bringing about sustainable peace, so that, such attacks won’t happen again. The PM and other officials are on a visit to places of conflict,” Nigussu said.

Also admitting that attacks and conflicts of the same nature have been ongoing for about a year and a half, since the reformed government took power, he indicated that it is imperative the government looks deep into the root causes of the conflicts.

“No one is above the law in this country, including the Prime Minister,” Nigussu asserted, adding, “There is only one government in the country.”

Answering to questions regarding the failures of the government, especially of the intelligence unit, to detect conflicts before they happen and take measures, Nigussu said that it should have been the case but did not happen. He said that the intelligence is one of the federal institutions that had been successfully reformed and it had successfully detected and stopped many attempts that could have created huge damages to the nation. But he would only say that the reform has reached the required level, when the government is able to stop conflicts before happening in collaboration with its citizens.