Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) appeared before the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) special session on Friday where he addressed questions raised by members of the parliament regarding the outstanding security issues,the economy as well as the current political and security condition in the country.
As expected, the dominant issues raised by MPS was the recentlegal action against corruption and human rights abuse suspects in custody and those not yet apprehended bythe security apparatus. At same time, the status of some opposition political parties, at odds with the government in relation tothe issue of disarmaments, was also an integral part to PM’s parliamentary session yesterday.
PMAbiy said that the government is showing a maximum patience towards political parties in the interest of further widening the political space in Ethiopia.However, Abiysaidthat,“when it comes to the unity, peace, democracy and development of Ethiopia, we will never harbor similar patience or sit for negotiations.”
He also added that “anyone can criticize the ineffectiveness of the government by any means of expression,” but he said, “We will not maintain unabated patience on matters of national unity.”
“The political space isnow relatively wider,”Abiy said, “and as that happen parties seem to be running out of breath since they are used to the short distance finger pointing game.”
He also urged political parties to practice inner party democracy within their leadership and to atleast demonstrate their capabilities of leading the country.
Responding to questions specifically about political parties including those accused of refusing to disarm their militia; PM Abiy told the House that armed and unarmed political parties have returned home from abroad based on the government’s invitation.
He explained that most of these groupshave been doing their bestto fulfill their roles as organizations that bringsabout new and alternative ideas that would help the country eradicate poverty and help ensure peace and stability. However, he also warned that his government would take legal measures to undermine political parties that operate in breach of the country’s laws. He also pointed out that gun fighting at this day and age is outdatedand old fashioned.
“The government will take the appropriate measures against anyone that attempts to ruin unity, peace, and development of the country,”adding that there can be better waysto control and end the ever-increasing influx of illegal arms and illicit financial transaction in the country.
The PMalso respondedto allegation of selective arrests and ethnically oriented legal action. In that he said; "there is no ethnicity that is criminal in itself. But, there are criminals in every ethnicity, and in every region."
“Following complaints of mistreatment in prison, we have reviewed our handlings. But we didnot find any wrong-doings. The parliament or members of the standing committees can visit them anytime. We have been providing the necessary food and consumption items to the detainees. These prisoners are reading books, and writing anything they want. They are having regular physical exercise and are handled properly without affecting their rights,”Abiy explained to the parliament.
Other issues addressed by Abiy,was the violence in some of higher education institutions of Ethiopia.
“University students shareideas and debateissues to generate new perspectives. There is no need to go to school if students’ engagement boils down conflict,”Abiysaid to the House.
He added that "students are supposed to be battling with ideas and that doesn't require going to actual conflict. If physical confrontation is the goal there is no need to go to school.”
Noting that the year-on-year inflation, which was at 14 percent average for the past 15 years, has now decreased to 10.3 percent, the PM asserted that the overall macroeconomic outlook is rather healthy. The Primer further said that his government has done a successful job in reducing the country’s debt burden and extending the repayment period of 60 percent of the loans secured from financiers.