Following protests in the days leading up to his African visit, Barack Obama has encountered opposition from numerous locals – including many who believe he addressed Ethiopia out of both sides of his mouth. Earlier this week, Obama stated that the nation enjoys a democratically elected government despite widespread reports of human rights abuses and oppression.
“It was kind of ironic that Obama was singing the praises of democracy in Ethiopia while ignoring its flaws there,” opined Ugandan security analyst Angelo Izama.
Many of those flaws were detailed in a recent U.S. Department of State report that lists “restrictions on freedom of expression, including continued restrictions on print media and on the Internet, and restrictions on freedom of association, including through arrests; politically motivated trials; and harassment and intimidation of opposition members and journalists” among Ethiopia’s most pressing human rights problems.
While Obama’s initial remarks garnered criticism, his apparent attempt to walk them back earned him the reputation among some as a mealy-mouthed politician.
He addressed the African Union Tuesday with a speech encouraging African leaders to embrace democracy, Al Jazeera America reported. Those who saw his comments as an about-face from his previous pronouncement complained that such behavior makes it more difficult to trust him.
“Yesterday he was a tricky and mischievous politician,” declared Ethiopian opposition party spokesman Yonathan Tesfaye. “And today he has become a passionate inspirational human rights activist. Which one should we believe? Which one should we go with?”
h/t: Al Jazeera America
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth