Written Testimony by Yoseph Badwaza
Senior Program Officer
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations
Hearing: Reviewing Current Developments in Ethiopia
September 12, 2018
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Bass, and members of the subcommittee, it is an honor to testify before you today. I ask that my full written testimony be admitted into the record.
We are witnessing a pivotal moment in Ethiopia’s history. If reform efforts continue on their current trajectory, Ethiopia could become one of the few victories for democratic governance at a time when many countries are moving in the wrong direction. Much remains to be done, and support from the international community will be needed.
Recent Events in Context
But before I get into specific recommendations on what needs to be done to maintain positive momentum, I will first provide some context for the changes we are witnessing.
In January 2018, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) announced that in order to respond to intensifying antigovernment protests, it would take comprehensive reform measures, including revising and repealing laws that narrowed the political space, facilitating free and fair elections, releasing political prisoners and promoting national reconciliation. In the months that followed, thousands of prisoners were freed and the notorious federal crimes investigations unit in Addis Ababa, commonly known as Maekelawi, was closed.
The resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn as prime…