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The Free Ethiopian Armed Forces movement – Press Release

August 7, 2012

Press Release
The Free Ethiopian Armed Forces movement
For peace, justice, unity and democracy

The role of the Ethiopian Armed Forces has historically been to:
•Defend the territorial integrity of the country
•Protect the unity of its people
•Act as the vanguard of freedom and defend the constitution

The members of the Armed Forces have left us a legacy of unconditional commitment and loyalty to the needs and demands of our people in the protection and maintenance of peace, unity and territorial integrity of our beloved country as well as the advancement of its people for a better life.

The current members of the Armed Forces, like their predecessors have declared their allegiance to these principles and unconditionally prepared themselves to sacrifice their lives for this cause despite repeated attempts by the ruling party to reduce the Ethiopian Defense forces to simply as an instrument of the regime in its attempt to retain its illegitimate power. But after 20 years of rule by a minority ethno centric government and a policy of brutal repression of the freedom of our people and realizing the extent to which it is willing to go in order to perpetuate these structures and policies in the interest of the few, and at the expense of the core interest of the country and its people, a significant number of concerned members of the Armed Forces have decided to align themselves with the forces of peace, equality, justice, democracy and unity in our country.

As members of the Armed Forces, we have witnessed the evolution of a totalitarian state where those who oppose the system find themselves monitored, imprisoned, tortured and assassinated. We have come to realize that Ethiopia is indeed in the grip of state terror. This state of affairs, including the purposeful divide and rule measures pursued by the regime within the armed forces , have damaged the coherence and solidarity of the armed forces that is crucial for the existence of a strong, capable and professional military.

The Armed forces believe that the status quo is unacceptable and untenable and will potentially lead to a costly civil war in addition to dangerously exposing the country to foreign aggression as well as infiltration by foreign terrorists and extremist elements from the region. We have taken note of the experiences of other countries and clearly understand that the dangers are real and on our door steps.

Currently the Armed Forces symbolize the ruling class and have acquired a character to serve and safeguard the corrupt culture of the few. The ruling elites are identified with the military and industrial infrastructure that supports it. Some of the current leadership of the Armed forces, ignoring their constitutional responsibility to be neutral from internal political contestations, has colluded with the minority ethno centric government in plundering the resources of the country. It has now become very clear that these corrupt leaders of the Armed Forces have used the military to facilitate this plunder and repression, in promoting the ethnic dominance, and fighting wars that have nothing to do with the safety and interest of our people. The ruling class has exploited the poverty and insecurity of the majority of our people to recruit members to join the Armed Forces based on absolute obedience to serve as instruments of suppression and injustice.

This government has used despotic methods of political and social control and abolished all forms of civil liberties. The ethnic division and associated tension between the various ethnic groups, the level of poverty of our people, the religious suppression, the rise of extremism, the social divide between the rich and the poor have become intolerable. The manner in which all the institutions of state, including the courts have become dysfunctional or have become simple tools that cater for the very few, the absence of separations of state of power, the suppression and the extermination of competing political, social and ethnic groups have left no doubt in our minds that Ethiopia is headed for a very troubling future.

A number of reform minded members of the armed forces at various levels of the institution have been trying to appeal to our leaders to reform the situation and maintain the professional integrity of the armed forces in addition to asking for the government to abide by its own constitution and respect the rights and liberties of the citizens of our country. The response they have gotten was dismissal from the armed forces or even being sent to secret detention and torture camps run by the military security apparatus. After observing in dismay the failure of all these attempts at reform, we have decided to meet the challenge head on and organize to restore the pride and professional stature of the Armed forces by standing firmly with our core belief and raisen de etre of protecting the rights and security of our fellow citizens.

Over the last few years we concerned members of the Armed Forces have been organizing underground to discuss our legal, constitutional, professional and moral responsibilities under these circumstances. At this juncture in the history of this government, when the head of the regime, PM Meles Zeanwi’s where about are unknown for more than the last 40 days, we realize that succession is being discussed among the ruling elites including some leading members of the military and security establishment. We have come to know that these leaders are conspiring to consolidate power by agreeing upon succession arrangements that would perpetuate indefinitely the life of this authoritarian minority regime. This is simply unacceptable.

Accordingly, we concerned members of the armed forces that have been organizing this underground movement for the last two years have decided to formally establish the Free Ethiopian Armed Forces Movement in order to side and struggle with the people and help the establishment of a genuine democratic dispensation in our country. We, members of the Ethiopian Armed forces, at this critical moment in our history, would like to inform the Ethiopian people that we will not and should not allow any form of undemocratic rule in our country. The perpetuation of the status quo, in whatever form, will lead this country to civil war and disintegration with a humanitarian cost unparalleled in our history and thus is unacceptable. To prevent this from happening, we have aligned ourselves with forces of equality, justice, democracy, peace and unity. We will not allow ourselves to be instruments for advancing the destructive policy of this regime and declare our commitment for peaceful transition to democracy whenever possible, but also our enduring determination to fight for this ideal along with the people of Ethiopia when necessary.

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