Oromia-Ethiopia: Prominent Oromo Prosecutor Abandons Zenawi’s Regime

Aug 26 (gadaa.com) – Mr. Leggese Alemu Gurmu, who was the Director of the Legal Research, Drafting, Training and Public Legal Education Directorate in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), has abandoned Zenawi’s regime, according to independent news sources, Oromedia and the Indian Ocean Newsletter. Mr. Leggese Alemu Gurmu is an Oromo, the largest nation in the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia, but a nation politically and economically marginalized and repressed for the last 120 years in its own homeland, Oromia.

Mr. Leggese Alemu Gurmu was a member of the delegation led by the Minister of Justice, Mr. Berhanu Hailu, on a trip to the United States when he decided to not return to Ethiopia in July 2011.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has increasingly become the most oppressive apparatus of the Meles Zenawi regime as it implements a slew of recently promulgated controversial legislation, which human rights organizations have called “draconian.”

For instance, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) evaluated the Civil Society Law, one of the recently promulgated draconian laws, as “inherently abusive of basic human rights.” Similarly, the Anti-Terror Law was grilled by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) as far-reaching and vague during the latest review of Ethiopia’s compliance to international human rights laws and covenants. Another legislation, the Press Proclamation, was criticized by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) for its lack of inputs from the public and the opposition, and its continued repression of press rights.

Some observers have noted that the defection of one of the highest-level officials in MoJ, Mr. Leggese Alemu Gurmu, may indicate the divisions that have slowly emerged among prosecutors in MoJ as MoJ ratchets up the implementation of the aforementioned laws. Especially, the harsh implementation of these laws on Oromo political dissidents, who are regularly rounded up under the pretext of breaking this law and that law, and thrown into prison without due process, will most likely continue to cause more defections from the MoJ.

Probably, a similar case, where a series of laws had been used to institute tyranny and domination, is the Apartheid Legislation in South Africa. Between 1948, when the first Apartheid law was enacted, and the early 1990′s, when the Apartheid laws were repealed one by one, the Nationalist government put in use some 20 laws to form, sustain and protect the Apartheid oppressive system. In short, the Apartheid government shielded its violations of human rights by enacting laws that had effectively made the violations of human rights by the government legal. Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi seems to be using a similar approach of legalizing human rights violations through legislation.