By Bereket Gebru 11-04-16
When Ethiopia declared a state of emergency, the loud opposition voices of the usual suspects could be heard from afar. They complained that the state of emergency would promote grave infringements of human rights and incite violence in the country even further by piling on the popular anger.
As has clearly been stated in the Ethiopian constitution and generally understood everywhere, states of emergency suspend political and democratic rights for a certain period of time for the perceived good of society. Accordingly, the decision to authorize detention without a warrant, prohibiting public gatherings and imposing curfews is, despite the preposterous claim by these groups, a standard course of action pursued by all states at such times of social unrest.
Just three weeks into the enforcement of the state of emergency, however, the country is looking a lot more stable than its recent self. Considering the unrest claimed the lives of a considerable number of Ethiopians and caused the destruction of a large amount of property on a daily basis at its peak, the current situation is a huge improvement towards stability.
Rather than hampering the state of human rights in the country, the state of emergency has been a positive force towards upholding them. The circumstances that led to the deaths of numerous Ethiopian in some parts of Amhara and Oromia have effectively been halted as a result of the state of emergency. The command-post in charge of overseeing the enforcement of the state of emergency reported that not a single human life has been lost as a result of unrest since the declaration.
Considering the right to life is the most sacred of all the human rights, the impressive effect of the state of emergency to ensure no loss of human life is proof of its indispensability to the protection of human rights in the country. By rooting out the seeds that spur unrest - public gatherings and incitements through social media – the state of emergency effectively closed the door on violence. The declaration of the state of emergency has spared the lives of numerous Ethiopian youth, averted the scourge of agony that threatened their families and the Ethiopian people in general.
Those who openly stated that they were ‘deeply troubled by the potential impact of the decision’ should feel relieved to know that the declaration has brought stability to the country despite their mistaken concerns. In that regard, the success has proven once again that nobody else cares more about Ethiopians than Ethiopians themselves. For those who were desperately looking forward to total chaos in the country, the effectiveness of the state of emergency could not have been more shocking.
The attacks on the country’s economic revival have also been put under control. With the violence mounting a disastrous offense on foreign and domestic investments in the country, numerous industries and businesses were set alight. Although that is a setback to the developmental momentum, the state of emergency has rescued the situation by ensuring that no further aberrations are to happen.
Despite the strong effort by the forces of chaos, Ethiopia’s increasing reputation as a viable destination for international investment has been kept intact. Instead of the massive exodus of foreign investors they sought to initiate by destroying some industrial sites, the situation seems to have prompted yet more others to arrive as the inflow is going strong still unabated. Those that have been at the receiving end of the heinous crime have also resorted to rebuilding their facilities and getting back to business.
By putting a stop to the destructive activities that aimed to corrode the economic development of the past couple of decades, the state of emergency has put the country back to its smooth path towards prosperity. It has also created a conducive environment for new investment to find its route to the country and contribute to its sustainable development.
The well being of citizens has also been ensured by the state of emergency as no more homes are being burned since its declaration on October 8, 2016. Numerous families are still grieving those that have fallen victims to attacks by the forces of chaos. No more families are left without their bread winners anymore. Hence, no more children and wives are left unprotected and unattended by their fathers and husbands.
The unrest also resulted in the destruction of local government offices in various cities. Courts and local administration offices were burned during the unrest, depriving local residents of the social services these offices used to provide. Vandalizing water supply stations would only harm the lives of the beneficiaries. Accordingly, the declaration of the state of emergency has put a stop to such anti-social moves, preventing further destruction and heralding the dawn of better days for social service in the areas of unrest.
As has been announced by the Minister of Defense, Siraj Fegesa, over two thousand people have been released from detention after receiving some education and advice following their participation in the unrest. Those released were trained on the provisions of the constitution, rights and responsibilities as citizens and the procedures for raising popular demands peacefully including peaceful authorized demonstrations.
The popular participation in the governmental effort to bring things back to normal has also been commendable. Popular participation in identifying culprits, returning looted property and reconstruction has been high.
In general, the state of emergency has had immense positive impact on the stability of the country. Contrary to the predictions of those with pessimistic views on everything that goes on in Ethiopia, the state of emergency has been a major success in realizing stability in such a short period of time. At has barely been a month and the chaotic situations have largely calm down. Accordingly, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced this week that the government is contemplating about lifting some of the things banned by the state of emergency. That clearly shows how much of a success the state of emergency has been in this short period of time.