Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
Following the Monday, June 21, General elections in Ethiopia meant to elect officials to the House of People’s Representatives which determines the Prime Minister of the country, Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia have appealed to the new leadership to protect and promote national interest.
In their collective statement shared with AMECEA Online ahead of the elections, the Conference said, “We recognize that the incumbent leadership after 6th national election shall bear responsibility to protect national interest and peoples’ security in light of diversity, protect and promote the interests and equal rights of citizens.”
“Bearing in mind that we have only one country, we call upon all citizens in their capacity to contribute to nation building by standing in support of the incumbent servant leadership,” reads an excerpt of the statement dated Friday, June 18.
The prelates noted further in their statement signed by the CBCE Secretary General, Fr. Teshome Fikre Weldetensaè that the questions raised by citizens in relation to exercising democracy should “prompt politicians to settle differences arising at pre-election, during and post-election periods amicably through civilized and genuine dialogue, and this should be taken as a sole means.”
They cautioned that a contrary move to settling differences amicably will not benefit anyone, as the country has “witnessed in recent past years that the loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties did not yield any benefit to any one at all.”
“We are deemed to work together towards respect to common good (and) the initiative towards this should be taken seriously by all political parties including the ruling party,” they noted.
Concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Church leaders acknowledge that the project is nearing completion but they are concerned about the “prolonged negotiation to reaching amicable solution with downstream countries, especially Sudan and Egypt.”
“To show in practice that we are peace loving and abiding nation, we would like to urge the government of Ethiopia to reach peaceful and amicable solution to the ongoing negotiation with Egypt and the Sudan in a manner that should not sadden our people, bearing in mind that we have the right to use our own natural resources but without causing significant harm to the downstream countries,” the bishops said adding, “We believe that such a move shall clear the “haze of cloud” on our neighbourliness but strengthen our future relationship.”
The General elections in Ethiopia were supposed to be held 29 August 2020 but were delayed reportedly because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Citizens now await the results as vote count is underway.