Dr. Berhanu on VOA |
| Addisdimts |
28 April 2009, Addis Abeba — The opposition party May 15 on Monday refuted accusations of a coup plot to sabotage the government, after the state media reported of police crack down in which 35 people were arrested.
In a statement, the Ginbot 7- Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy said it was hardly surprised by the accusations, given the ruling parties usual unfounded allegations.
“This latest claim of foiling a coup plot by Ginbot 7 is no different than the regime’s same old worn out practices of criminalizing political dissent. Ginbot 7 has no desire to engage in a tit for tat with neither the dictators in Addis Ababa, nor the time to waste replying to baseless accusations by a regime that rules Ethiopia by the barrel of the gun,” the party led by Dr. Birhanu Nega said in a statement posted on Nazret.com.
“A terror network formed by Dr. Berhanu Nega to wage armed struggle has been foiled by security forces,” a government statement had said adding police raided their homes and got weapons, bombs, landmines, soldier uniforms and their future plans.
“Their plans and their strategies all came from Dr. Berhanu and his colleagues in the U.S,” the government report asserted.
Dr. Berhanu was elected mayor of capital Addis Ababa after parliamentary elections in 2005 but was jailed when the opposition disputed the government’s victory.
Police and soldiers killed about 200 opposition protestors in street violence that followed the poll.
Berhanu and other opposition leaders were released in a 2007 pardon after which he went to the United States to teach economics at Bucknell University in Philadelphia.
Ginbot 7 said Ethiopia is under “massive pressure at home due to the collapse of the economy, the massive unemployment, the obscene corruption and the growing resistance from the severely restricted opposition political parties and the populace at large.”
It said it remains committed to work for the establishment of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Ethiopia.
“No amount of scurrilous accusations, threats or blackmail by the regime will deter us from pursuing the cause of democracy and freedom”, it added.
Ethiopia will hold parliamentary elections in 2010.
Analysts say the government of Prime Minister Meles Zanawi is likely to win the poll as the opposition has been weakened since the 2005 election.