Today March 2, 2018, the house of parliament approved by a ⅔ majority the state of emergency (SOE) declared by the federal government of Ethiopia in its effort to stifle dissent by forceful means under the guise of protecting the constitution. Four hundred forty-one (441) out 547 parliamentarians attended today’s meeting. 346 voted to approve the state of emergency, 88 voted against the measure while 7 abstained from voting.
The speaker of parliament Mr. Abadula declared 346 parliamentarians voted for the state of emergency to stay and declared the implementation of the state of emergency for the next six month.
Ethiopian Broadcasting Agency (EBC) on its evening news broadcast disputed speaker Abadula’s number as being incorrect and announced the actual vote count that supported the implementation of the SOE was 395, not 346 as declared by the speaker.
Several journalists and news agencies who were present during the voting of the parliamentary proceeding were baffled by EBC reporting of the extra 49 votes in addition to the 346 announced by speaker Abadula.
Reports show those who cast the 88 dissenting votes were representatives from Oromia region.The drama that played out in parliament to approve the state of emergency show cracks in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government and member parties whose members are known to rubber stamp every legislation before them in the last 26 years. Political pundits on social media were talking about the unprecedented opposition the EPRDF government faced for the first time to pass a legislation in its 27 years of governing history.
Allies of the Ethiopian government such as the United and Western nations have denounced the declaration of the state of emergency.