Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, on Oct. 2. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The October 11 World article “Ethiopia imposes state of emergency amid unrest” highlighted the widespread and proactive dissent that the undemocratic government is facing and the desperate measures it is taking. The situation is a consequence of the ruling party’s 25 years of dominance and its brutal suppression of human rights and political opposition.

Every segment of Ethiopian society, regardless of ethnic affiliation, has been victimized by the government’s unfair and misguided policies. The people of Ethiopia, therefore, in unison, are saying enough to a quarter-century of abuse. That is the reason there are active opposition movements throughout the country. This should not overshadow, however, the destructive presence of secessionist groups and liberation fronts that will further threaten Ethiopia’s unity and stability. Such groups and their agendas will add only unmanageable chaos to the situation.

The current popular movement can become effective only if it is channeled through a unifying, not a separatist, leadership. The people of Ethiopia are demanding that type of leadership to bring a sustainable, democratic change to their nation. Promoting and fighting for the interests of a single ethnic group will never be the solution for Ethiopia’s persistent political problems. Unity is the key to establishing freedom, equality and justice.

Tewodros Abebe, Accokeek