What triggered the marathon meeting of the ruling party in December of 2017 was a widespread protest in the country, mainly in Oromo region of Ethiopia. It was meant to identify the origins and solutions to the deepening political crisis which manifested itself in a form of ethnic-based killings on University grounds, ethnic violence (which displaced over have a million people) in the Somali region of Ethiopia and widespread protests in the country. The state machinery barely worked as it should for many months.
Leaders of the ruling coalition announced, in a two hours press conference with state media, following the completion of their meeting, that they have made a “mistake” in a way implying that they would do things differently; they announced decision to release political prisoners in order to “broaden the political space” in the country and end Maekelawi prison as a torture chamber and give it a new life as a state of the art museum.
As it turns out, leaders of the ruling party, specifically TPLF who are still the master’s of the coalition, didn’t say what they mean. Apparently, they rather meant to buy time to reorganize the machinery of repression. Although some prisoners, including one prominent opposition leader (Merera Gudina), were released, the ruling party swiftly resorted to the same old system of brutal repression of peaceful protests. Political and economic demands are not addressed; the regime does not seem to have the will to do that.