Eight days after the state of emergency was declared by the Council of Ministers, a Directive, outlining the do’s and don’ts, actions that can be taken by security forces, ‘red zones’ and curfews, has been announced.
The Command Post can put people in correctional facilities and, depending on the gravity of their offenses, either prosecute them in a court of law or release them.
Siraj Fegessa, Minister of Defence and Secretary of the Command Post, in charge of observing the strict implementation of the state of emergency, announced late on Saturday that diplomats should “for their own safety and well-being, notify and seek permission of the Command Post before travelling outside a 40km radius from Addis Abeba”.
The Directive also strictly forbid tuning into channels showcasing and reporting hostile propaganda on radio or TV stations. This includes “ESAT – Ethiopian Satellite Television and OMN – Oromia Media Network. The provision is open for interpretation to include any other channel that is believed to have same objective and goals – inciting conflict and chaos in the country.
The two channels, based in the United States, have been identified by the government as the mainstream media agencies machinating the violent protest over the past year.
The Directive lists forbidden acts in 20 articles: conspiracy to incite violence and public disturbance; communicating with terrorist organisations; taking part in any unauthorised rallies; participating in the boycotting of provision of services; involving in strikes at learning and sport institutions; causing destruction on infrastructure and religious institutions; causing havoc during public and national holidays; campaigning during religious, cultural and public holidays; obstruction of justice and wearing restricted clothing, such as military uniforms, are all banned by the Command Post.
In addition – the bearing of arms in markets, religious or public gatherings; transferring legally acquired arms to a third party; committing any act that may harm the country’s sovereignty, security and constitutional order; going to restricted areas and supporting activities that will disturb public peace and security, are all prohibited.
Siraj stated what he described as ‘Red Zones’, where the above mentioned restricted acts are especially forbidden within given dimensions and with the application of curfews. The country’s borders, in all four directions, and in the confines of 50km from the boarders, shall come under strict implementation of the state of emergency, with security forces authorised to discharge their duties with every means they see fit.
The geographic curving of the red zones – which focus on the strict implementation of the state of emergency identifies nine major roads in the country: Addis Abeba – Djibouti; Addis Abeba – Shashamane – Dolo; Addis Abeba – Harar; Addis Abeba – Assossa; Addis Abeba – Gambella; Addis Abeba – Gebre Guracha; Addis Abeba – Shashamane – Moyalle; Gonder – Metema and Gonder – Humera.
No one should trespass orders of the Command Post and enter a road that has been blocked for security reasons.
Unauthorised personnel are restricted from any movement past 18:00 hours until 06:00 hours in economic core centres, infrastructure and investment institutions, large scale farms, factories and similar development institutions.
Citizens and organisations are obliged to cooperate in providing information when ordered by law enforcement agencies.
When the forbidden acts according to the Directive of the Command Post are committed, law enforcement agencies can detain and put people under custody without a court warrant. In a similar token, random searches can take place by security forces without a court warrant.
Law enforcement agencies can return vandalised property to its rightful owners; they can enter school premises and remain there to bring law and order.
In doing so, members of the security forces can utilise any means to protect themselves from any harm that can endanger their life, or physical or property’s wellbeing.
Parliament still has not deliberated on the issue and has not established a State of Emergency Inquiry Board mandated to check and report the series of events – including a list of detained individuals and their status on a monthly basis.
Article 93, sub article 5 of the constitution, stipulates that the Board shall comprise seven persons composed of MPs and legal experts.