Published On: Thu, Feb 2nd, 2017

A look at Ethiopia – Economic Development & Protests

Ongea Africa Radio

Listen to the discussion here –

What started as a protest by a handful of youth in Ginichi, a small town with the Oromia regional State, the largest of the nine States that make up Ethiopia, described as laid-back, against fears their local football pitch and forest reserve were about to be replaced by an investment project, quickly “spread-out like wildfire” within a few weeks. The concerns of the protesters also quickly turned into protests against what is described as an ambitious “Addis Ababa and the Surrounding Oromia Special Zone Integrated Development Plan” or the “Addis Ababa Master Plan”, and by extension what is seen as coercion governance by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front – EPRDF. Federal authorities say the objective of this “Master Plan” is to integrate through an economic development plan, the Oromia Special Zone currently administered by the Oromia Regional State with the rest of the country. These protests which began in late 2015, are still going on, nation-wide, and, been resisted with deadly force by the Regional and federal security forces leading to loss of hundreds of lives. 

This act of using security forces to brutally discourage civilian protests is seen as a deliberate tactic adopted by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front – EPRDF to prolong its stay as the governing party. 

So, what, and who is the problem in Ethiopia: the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front – EPRDF; is it the “Addis Ababa Master Plan” seen as “ambitious” and causing havoc with local lives and hence the protests; or is it Ethiopians resisting positive development transformation?

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A look at Ethiopia – Economic Development & Protests
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