Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representatives will meet on Tuesday (February 15) to debate and decide on whether to vacate a nationwide state of emergency imposed six months ago.
The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called parliamentarians for an emergency meeting, recalling them back from recess that was set to last until end of February, according to the Ethiopian Insider, a local news outlet.
Usually, legislators take a sabbatical in February, and between July and the end of September.
Tuesday’s call for the emergency meeting comes one day after US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, commenced his official visit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
It is, however, unclear whether Addis Ababa’s call for the emergency meeting is tied to the arrival of the envoy.
During his two-day visit from February 13-14, Satterfield was slated to hold meetings with the Ethiopian government, African Union, and United Nations officials, as well as representatives of humanitarian organizations. This was revealed by the US State of Department.
On November 2 last year, Ethiopia’s state of emergency was imposed after the proscribed group Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who are fighting the government and its allies, took control of several towns outside the Tigray region and advanced towards Addis Ababa.
Initially, the national decree was imposed for six months. However, after TPLF forces retreated from several areas of the Amhara region, the Ethiopian cabinet some three weeks ago decided to lift the state of emergency and forwarded its decision to parliament for approval.
Ethiopia’s cabinet then approved lifting of the state of emergency ahead of its expiration in what it argued was due to a progress achieved in security conditions in the country.
“Now we have reached a stage where threats can be neutralized through regular law enforcement mechanisms,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a statement late January in support of the cabinet’s proposal.