Despicable crimes of a dying regime

AFD statement on inter-religious strife
The Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) condemns in the strongest terms the recent incidence of inter-religious violence in Jimma and Ilubabor zones of Oromia, Southwestern Ethiopia. While expressing our deep sadness and concern about the unprecedented, horrific and senseless loses of lives and destruction of property, we extend our heartfelt condolences to those who lost their loved ones and wish a speedy recovery for those wounded in the episodes. The Alliance calls on the general public not to succumb to any inter-religious and inter-communal provocations and urges community elders, religious leaders, civic associations and NGOs to play a leading role in restoring inter-communal harmony and averting any further incidences of intolerance.
Ethiopia has been witnessing a lot of violence, the bulk of it state-instigated. This is done in a futile attempt to divide and thereby weaken the resolve of the public from struggling together to demand the end of the suppression of their democratic rights by the regime. Since violence begets violence, the incumbent regime must share responsibility for the recent incidence of inter-religious strife. These are despicable crimes of a dying regime.
Not only has the regime been derelict in its duty of maintaining law and order, it has in fact been a culprit and accomplice in fanning inter-religious and inter-communal strives in a bid to forestall the emergence of a unified popular resistance to its tyrannical rule.
We therefore call on the authorities to take immediate steps to prevent further violence and investigate and punish those responsible for the attack, including members of the security forces who failed to respond to repeated calls for protection by victims. We have been calling on the government, to no avail, to choose the path of dialogue instead of violence. Since the primary victims are all our people, we cannot cease to continue to warn that the criminalization of dissent by the ruling party, especially the Prime Minister, is futile and counter-productive in resolving the many and complicated political, economic and social problems that are the root source of increasing tension and unrest throughout the country.
In this regard, we want to take this opportunity to relay our dismay in the failure of the regime to own up to its responsibility in last year’s killing of innocent protesters. Its shameless attempt to absolve itself from the crimes it committed by blaming it all on the opposition and charging opposition leaders with treason is bad enough. Now that the truth has come out, presenting to its rubberstamp parliament a watered down version of the report by the Inquiry Commission can only be characterized as criminal and foolish. We strongly warn all concerned that the regime is on the path of self-destruction and arrogantly taking the country and the population down with it. We believe, only a public acceptance of responsibility and a categorical commitment to the peaceful resolution of the root causes of all outstanding problems by the ruling party can pave the way for the much and urgently needed process of dialogue to prevent from sliding into intractable chaos.

October 27, 2006
Alliance for Freedom and Democracy

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