Ethiopia’s ruling coalition has lost its authority and all parties must help map the country’s future, an opposition leader said on Friday, suggesting political tensions in Africa’s second most populous country are unlikely to ease soon, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Mulatu Gemechu, deputy secretary of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, spoke a day after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who said he was leaving office to smooth reforms.
Mulatu said Ethiopia needed a completely new political system after years of political unrest in the two most populous regions of the Horn of Africa country. “Ethiopians now need a government that respects their rights, not one that keeps beating and killing them,” he told Reuters.
Rights advocates have frequently criticised Ethiopia’s government for mass arrests and long jail terms handed to political opponents and journalists.
Pressure on the ruling coalition, in power since 1991, began building in 2015 when protests against an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa sparked larger demonstrations demanding more freedom and civil rights.
More than 6,000 political prisoners have been freed since January as the government struggles to placate simmering anger among the two largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amharic, who complain they are under-represented in the corridors of power.