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Egypt and Tunisia style revolts impossible in Ethiopia, says PM Zenawi

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

March 13, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has dismissed chances of an uprising like those seen in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in his country and said that his government is not worried that such a popular uprising, like those which are sweeping North-Africa and Arab states will happen in Ethiopia.

“Some Exiled opposition supporters have called and are still doing so for Arab-type of uprising in this country’’ Meles Zenawi said at a news conference he gave to local journalists.

“There are however no grounds for such types of revolts to happen in Ethiopia” he stressed.

Since the uprising that saw the leaders and governments of Tunisia and Egypt resign, opposition Ethiopian political groups, mainly based abroad, have begun campaigns in to instigate a similar scenario in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has been enjoying high economic growth, registering double digit growth for the past seven years. Senior figures in the Ethiopian government say that the country has embraced democracy, and is meeting the demands of the people.

Zenawi said that considering the country’s economy is growing and is democratic a ‘’North African type of uprising is unlikely’’. Last year’s elections in Ethiopia saw Zenawi’s party strengthen its grip on power but were described as undemocratic by opposition parties and were criticized by some observers.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been in power since 1991 after his forces toppled the Marxist Derg regime led by Mengustu Hailemariam.

Led by Meles Zenawi, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party has won a land slide victory in last year May 23 elections, sweeping over 99% of the total votes.

“In a vote, the Ethiopian people have granted us a five-year contract to lead the country and after all to bring real changes’’ he said adding “successfully carrying out these responsibility is what worries us most and not an uprising call from few desperate ones.”

The Arab uprisings were triggered by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt which led to their presidents being ousted. Libya has followed with an uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule. Heavy fighting has broken out between rebels and armed groups loyal to Gaddafi over the last two weeks.

Protests have also taken in other Middle Eastern and North African countries including Sudan, Yemen and Bahrain.