News / Africa

Ethiopian Prime Minister Vows to Fight Domestic, External Threats

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (File Photo)
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (File Photo)

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi issued a blunt warning to opposition groups he says are trying to organize a people’s revolution.  Mr. Meles on Tuesday accused the largest opposition coalition of serving as a cover for an outlawed rebel group.

In a nationally televised session of parliament, Mr. Meles had harsh words for the domestic opposition and for external forces he said are trying to destabilize Ethiopia.  He served notice that his government would not tolerate anyone plotting demonstrations or terrorist attacks.

The legislative session had been called to hear the government’s six-month progress report.  But when the only opposition lawmaker in the 547-seat legislature asked why supporters of the Medrek coalition are being arrested in the Oromia region, Mr. Meles responded that those in custody are suspected of being members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front.

Speaking in Amharic, Mr. Meles suggested that his government is aware of attempts to incite a people’s revolution.  He blamed Medrek and its main component, the Unity and Justice for Democracy Party.

He said, "I would like to pass a message to Medrek, and particularly members of [the] Unity [for Justice and Democracy Party].

The Ethiopian leader said his government is not blind and deaf, and warned that anyone who takes part in what he called "the plot being hatched to incite protests and terror" would "pay a price."

Mr. Meles gave no details about what the plot might entails.  But a campaign on the social networking website Facebook is calling for massive protests next month on the 20th anniversary of the day Mr. Meles’s Tigrayan People’s Revolutionary Front came to power.

Former Ethiopian President Negasso Gidada, who is chairman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, denied any opposition involvement in planning the demonstration.  In a telephone interview, he accused Mr. Meles of trying to suppress public protests by intimidating and demonizing the opposition as well as Ethiopia’s neighbors.

"We have not been involved in any kind of plot or in any kind of inciting protests and terror at any time, whether it is last week or this week or in the future - particularly not to incite terror.  What he is saying does not apply to us, and it is only for us a threat to have it as a reason to prepare himself and his government to take illegal action against opposition party members," he said.

In his remarks to lawmakers, Mr. Meles accused two other countries in the region of trying to foment instability.  He charged neighboring Eritrea with backing the Oromo Liberation Front, and he vowed to reciprocate by supporting rebels trying to overthrow Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki.

The Ethiopian leader also said he is not concerned about Egypt’s attempt to block funding for a massive dam to be built on the Nile River.  Mr. Meles vowed last week that the $4.8-billion hydropower project would go ahead as planned, even though no international donor has agreed to provide financing.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More