Netsanet Zeleke (Ethiopia)
Understandably, the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) is established with its own charter and is a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. These international humanitarian societies are bonded with the 191 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies worldwide with seven cardinal principles two of which are the following:-
- Impartiality – It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve suffering, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
- Neutrality – In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature. (https://www.redcrosseth.org/who-we-are/funadamental-principles)
In light of the above, any staff of this organization shouldn’t involve in activities that may implicate them with a political or ethnic group. To the dismay of many, Mr. Abera Tola, the President of ECRS, was the major actor when different factions of the Oromo parties were signing an agreement to work together in unity. In principle, the involvement of this President of the ERCS may look harmless, but its political and ethnic implication is undoubtedly beyond expectation. What is more, he was also seen accompanying Oromo politicians and activist and media tycoon Jawar Mohammed in a recently held press conference at the house of the activist after the latter claimed that his personal guards were to be removed from his compound.