Geldof Urges More Tolerance for Ethiopia Civil Society

As the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting concludes in Ethiopia, Bob Geldof says the host country must develop with greater freedom of expression. (AFP)


ADDIS ABABA — Aid activist and Irish pop star Bob Geldof on Friday urged Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to be more inclusive and tolerant of civil society groups.

“If they keep saying ‘you can’t write anything critical,’ they’re in trouble,” Geldof told AFP. “Have them participate, allow the pressure valve to come off,” he added.

He said Ethiopia must follow the example of Western nations, which developed only with greater freedom of expression. Unless Ethiopia becomes more tolerant, he cautioned, it could reverse recent economic and social progress.

“It will stumble if they don’t bring their people into the argument,” he warned, adding that Meles is a “very intelligent leader who truly understands government.”

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