Ethiopia sent a stiff protest to Kenya on Thursday, seeking to stop the Nation Media Group from airing a television programme on a rebel movement fighting the Addis Ababa Government.
Kenya’s ambassador was summoned to the Ethiopian Foreign ministry as the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi launched a diplomatic offensive to block NTV’s four-part investigative report on the Oromo Liberation Front, which went on air last night.
It was the climax of a dramatic week in which Ethiopia’s ambassador to Kenya, Mr Disasa Dirribsa, first sent a protest letter to the Nation Media Group after NTV began promoting its exclusive series on the secretive guerrilla group based in southern Ethiopia.
Ethiopia accused NTV of lending support to an unlawful organisation and warned that airing the programme could undermine relations with Kenya.
The Ethiopian embassy wrote to the Nation Media Group dismissing the OLF as “a terrorist group whose activities have been known to be anti-democratic and anti-peace”.
Mr Dirribsa wrote: “It is a minority group whose agenda runs parallel to the aspirations of the Oromo people. Indeed, OLF has been totally rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Oromo population, who are exercising and enjoying their democratic rights.”
He said airing the programme confirmed suspicion of a larger conspiracy to “speak for these terrorist elements in our sub-region, leading us to question NTV’s covert or overt political agenda”.