Ethiopia: 'Despite reforms lawlessness still rampant'

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome has complained that in spite of comprehensive reform measures the government has introduced, lawlessness was still rampant in some parts of the country.

"Although many positive changes were being witnessed in the country, those bent on taking the law in their own hands and engage in mob actions were responsible for the lawlessness," President Mulatu Teshome told the country's lawmakers at a legislative inauguration ceremony on Monday that followed a two-month parliamentary summer break.

Ethiopia experienced a series of serious ethnic-based clashes since April this year — a milestone month that ushered in a wave of reforms by Africa’s youngest leader Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who came to the helm same month.

Hundreds have been killed and more than 2.8 million people have been internally displaced making Ethiopia second to only Syria in terms of internally displaced persons in 2018.

"Government will no longer tolerate this trend and will take strong measures to quell any lawlessness," Teshome said.

– 'Unique year'

According to the president, the parliament began a unique legislative year as it came on the heels of the return of exiled political parties to participate in a peaceful democratization process.

"It is also unique in that it came at a time of successful diplomatic thaw between Ethiopia and Eritrea," he said.

The two neighboring countries have remained foes for the past two decades.

He said, "the normalization of relations between the two countries will help stabilize the whole Horn of Africa Region that has for long been characterized by wars and poverty."

Ethiopia expects to hold parliamentary elections in 2020 and this time around the new prime minister pledged to ensure free, fair and democratic elections.

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