By Staff Reporter
February 12, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Thousands of people staged large demonstrations in Jimma and Agaro towns of Oromia region of southwestern Ethiopia to show solidarity with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the ruling Prosperity Party (PP).
According to local people sources, the peaceful demonstrations came ahead of planned meeting by the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) with its members and supporters in Jimma city.
OFC’s planned meeting which was supposed to be held on Tuesday in Jimma stadium was banned by the city administration, Umer Tahir, an OFC official has complained.
It is not confirmed if the Pro-Prime Minister demonstration has got permission from the city administration. The premier is believed to have established strong support in Jimma and Agaro cities where he attended his junior and secondary schools.
Clad in T-shirts displaying Abiy’s picture at the front, the demonstrators chanted several slogans in support of the Prime Minister and the ruling Prosperity Party.
Jimma youth league head Dimamu Nigatu said the demonstration is to show solidarity with the ongoing reforms undertaken by the government. It is a call for unity among the peoples of Oromo and a counter moves against disrespect to the premier and other government officials.
“The idea to stage the demonstration has come after Jawar Mohammed, the controversial activist and Director General of the Oromo Media Network (OMN), made speeches targeted against the Prime Minister,” he added.
Disrespecting leaders elected by the public is tantamount to insulting the Ethiopian people. Opposition political parties shall entertain their ideas without dividing the people of Oromo, the demonstrators chanted
“Jawar was our model but what he is speaking of late is not right. It is unfair to insult leaders rather than come up with an alternative solutions,” one of the demonstrators has said.
Information trending in social media, however, said the government had arranged the demonstration in a show of strength against the OFC and it paid per diem to the participants.
Dimamu claimed also said, “No government body was involved in arranging the demonstrations. They were staged by us, members of the youth league. There was no per diem paid to anyone.”
The Oromia regional state is believed to be hotly contested between various Oromo parties, including the OFC and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The PP led by PM Abiy Ahmed, also from Oromia, may feel threatened by the likely alliance of several of these opposition parties in this region.
Meanwhile, senior members of competing political parties in Ethiopia are set to hold discussions on Ethiopia’s current political situations entitled “Democratic Transition in Ethiopia, Hopes, and challenges”.
The discussion will bring, among others, Jawar Mohammed of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Desalegn Chane of the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA), Getachew Reda of Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), Andualem Aragae of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (ECSJ), and other prominent politicians.
Organized by the Ethiopian Strategic Studies (ESS), the discussion was supposed to be held next Thursday, February 13, 2020, but postponed for some time in the future after some of the politicians failed to show up.
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