AU Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
By Ismail Akwei
The African Union has expressed concern about Ethiopia’s current State of Emergency against the upcoming Heads of State Summit in the capital Addis Ababa in January 2017.
The concerns were raised by the Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma who met with the newly appointed Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the AU Headquarters on Tuesday.
The minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu allayed the fears of the AU chairperson by assuring that “the situation had now calmed down substantially and nothing untoward was anticipated to occur that could disrupt the Summit proceedings”.
“The Government was fully engaging the people, with a view to find solutions to the teething issues, such as the persistent problem of youth unemployment which gives way to the exploitation of idle hands,” a statement from the AU quoted the minister.
He also expressed hope that the relationship between Ethiopia and the African Union to remain solid and assume its position as the capital of Africa.
Dlamini Zuma praised the cooperation of the Ethiopian government.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on October 9 to curb the unrest which turned violent leading to damage of properties including those of local and international businesses.
Before the State of Emergency was imposed, over 50 people died on October 2 in a stampede at a festival in Bishoftu after police fired teargas and warning shots to disperse protesters at the event.
At least 500 people have been killed and thousands arrested in the wave of anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions over the past months.
International bodies including the United Nations and the European Union have called on the Ethiopian government to exercise restraint against protesters.