Targeted assassination of four members of the opposition shows how agitated the post-election atmosphere has become in the ethnically divided nation of Ethiopia.
THE targeted assassination of four members of the Ethiopian opposition party in less than two weeks before the official announcement of the rigged election results took a worrisome pattern in the ethnically divided nation of 90 million.
Semayawi (Blue Party) and Arena-Tigray parties reported two deaths while the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) said it lost two of its candidates putting the total post-election death to four.
Samuel Awoke Alem, 29, a practicing lawyer and founding member of the Blue Party was attacked by two men while heading home on Monday. He passed away soon after being ushered to hospital.
The prevalent belief was, as parliamentary candidate for Debre Markos electoral district, Samuel Awoke won but it is a victory that could never be tolerated or acknowledged by the minority TPLF/EPRDF regime. His refusal to give up the struggle for freedom and justice was also seen as a threat.
Two weeks before his death, on June 3, 2015 Samuel Awoke wrote the following on his Facebook page that went viral after his death:
“Any price I am going to pay is for my country and for freedom. I may be imprisoned, but my conscience will still be free. If they murder me I am passing this torch of struggle. Especially I am appealing to you – my contemporaries of this generation”.
On another post, he also accused ANDM/EPRDF, the ruling party’s Amhara state wing, for orchestrating his April 29 severe beating.
“The unashamed EPRDF who lost the voters confidence, kidnapped and beat me on May 29, 2015. And now, unsatisfied that I am still alive, they are in the process [of] throwing me to jail overriding my rights of immunity by creating false witnesses against me. The security forces are harassing and threatening me, calling my phones repeatedly. I may be murdered, imprisoned, kidnapped but freedom is a surety. However, I am recording for the sake of history and passing the record as well of those security persons’ name, pictures, and address as well as the ring leaders of those who are organized to make false witnesses and those who are going to witness against me; the 04 Kebele officials of Debre Markos city and also the police”.
A statement from Semayawi party said, “We won’t beg for the prosecution of the criminals as they are part of the government.”
Arena Tigrai party, which is part of the main opposition coalition Medrek, reported one of its leader for western Tigrai zone, was killed on Tuesday (16).
Tadesse Abraha, 48, resident of Mai Kadra kebele, in Kafta-humera wereda, died after being hanged by three men on Tuesday evening, party spokesperson Amdom Gebreslasie told local news reporters. Though the men left Tadesse for dead, he passed away several hours later. Post-mortem examination was barred by local officials, Amdom added.
Tadesse Abraha was a harsh critic of the ethnic-apartheid policies of the TPLF/EPRDF. He regularly called on the majority of Tigrayans to speak out and reject the TPLF policies, saying “Not in our [Tigray] name!” He greatly feared that the immoral and selfish policies of favoring one ethnicity over all others would backfire and eventually could threaten the innocent Tigrayans along with the engineers of the architecture of these unjust policies.
Tadesse Abraha was just killed for such beliefs.
Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), which is part of the main opposition coalition Medrek, reported on May 25 that two of its officers were killed in Oromia state.
Speaking to the Voice of America (VOA) Amharic service, OFC’s vice chairman Dejene Tafa said that its officers, Teshale (no last name) and Gudisa Chemeda were killed in Chelia I and Chelia II electoral districts, respectively.
The rays of light these opposition members hoped to bring to this highly disfranchised nation are extinguished, leaving Ethiopia in the increasing darkness. The remaining few people shedding light are now targets of those who thrive in the dark.
With a complete loss of faith in ballot box, coupled with rampant crackdown and assassination on decent, opposition members are weighing in the “freedom first” option by joining the already established patriotic opposition armed forces.
According to the provisional election results announced on May 27, the ruling TPLF/EPRDF and its allies amassed all the federal and state legislative seats leaving the opposition empty handed. Final results are expected to be announced in two days time i.e. on June 22.