ADDIS ABABA (AFP)―The speaker of Ethiopia’s lower house of parliament, who resigned last week, said on Saturday that he quit because of “disrespect” of his ethnic group.

Abadula Gemeda, a member of the Oromos, the country’s largest ethnic group, announced last Sunday that he was stepping down after seven years as speaker of the House of People’s Representatives.

He is one of the highest-ranking government officials to resign since the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition took power in 1991.

A former army chief of staff, Abadula is also a founder of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), which represents the Oromos within the EPRDF.

Oromos led a wave of anti-government protests that began in late 2015 and were only quelled after more than 940 deaths and the imposition of a 10-month state of emergency, and distrust of the EPRDF still runs deep.

In comments carried by the state-affiliated Oromia Broadcasting Network, Abadula said he was dissatisfied with the EPRDF’s treatment of his people.

“I resigned because my peoples and party were disrespected,” he said. “However, I will struggle to bring the necessary respect and do the best I can for Oromo people to gain their rights.”

His resignation came at the start of a turbulent week in Ethiopia, which saw protesters return to the streets in several towns in Oromia, the largest of the country’s ethnically based regional states.

Continue reading this story at News24
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