Abiy Ahmed May Well be the Last PM of Ethiopia as We Know It

By Hiwot Abera

Ethiopia has been susceptible to internal conflicts and instability ever since Emperor Menelik enlarged the size of then Abyssinian Empire by three fold, creating the present day Ethiopia, at the end of the 19th century. However, its instability and associated internal conflicts that has been simmering ever since, with sporadic eruptions of open conflicts, picked to a level never seen before under Abiy Ahmed. His government’s inconsistent and contradictory policy pronouncements, erratic behavior, and reckless military interventions did not only worsen inter-state conflicts, but it is also alleged to have perpetrated war crimes and epic human rights violations, including ethnic cleansing and rapes, according to multiple international media outlets, governments and international organizations such as the United Nations and European Union. 

Abiy’s ill-advised war on the people of Tigray – disguised as a war against TPLF – has been in the works well before the stated official position of November 4, 2020. The ill-advised war exposed Abiy’s incompetence at many levels, including his desire to retain power at all costs. Abiy has been given many opportunities to correct courses and bring the country together. Unfortunately, he has been unwilling or unable to resolve political differences through dialogue, resorting to violence and brute force to settle scores, instead.  Abiy is waging war on the peoples of Ethiopia on many fronts. 

Tigray 

Shockingly, Abiy launched his stated “law and order operation” in Tigray with an Arial bombardment of the people of Tigray. As if that was not treasonous enough, he invited a foreign adversary, Eretria, to invade a state in the Ethiopian federation he ought to protect, according to the constitution. Initially, he denied that Eritrean troops are involved in the war in Tigray,  only to a humiliating admission of their involvement later, that is after credible international organizations and governments reported there and ordered him and Isaias Afeworki to immediately withdraw the troops from the region.  The Eritrean troops’ involvement in the war in Tigray was not limited to removing the TPLF leaders from power in Tigray. Instead, they entered the conflict zone with a vengeance to destroy Tigray and Tigryans identity and pride. They raped women; committed mass killings; looted public and private properties and institutions; destroyed infrastructures such as universities, schools, hospitals, utilities and religious centers. Portable valuable household items and office furniture such as appliances, computers, printers and medical equipment and supplies were removed and hauled back to Eretria. 

They attacked Eritrean refugee camps and killed several of their own citizens who ran away from Isaias’s dictatorial regime. They returned most of them back to the place they run from. After commanders on the field admitted to the presence of Eritrean troops and the international community confirmed their presence supported with hard evidence, Abiy eventually acknowledged  the presence of Eritrean troops and even took a short trip to Asmara to announce that Eritrea’s troops will leave Tigray. However, what he actually did was, change their uniforms and ID cards to those of Ethiopia’s Defense Forces and the Amhara militia and redeploy them not only in Tigray, but also all over Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz, and Somali regional states. 

The international community, including the United States and the European Union have labeled the atrocities in Tigray as “ethnic cleansing” and Abiy is the first PM to oversee a state sponsored ethnic cleansing of its own people with the help of a former adversary state. 

Oromia

PM Abiy Ahmed is waging war on the Oromo people in the West, Central, and South Oromia using the same Amhara militia and Eritrean troops. Several reports from Oromia suggest a large number of Amhara militia and Eritrean troops casualties, following a series of clashes between the Oromia Special Forces and Amhara militias in the region. At the time the country relies on neighboring foreign power to sustain the war in Tigray, the regime is sparking conflicts on multiple fronts for no other reason than to neutralize significant regional opposition groups and remain as the only choice for the upcoming national election in June. Abiy is enabling Amhara militias to commit genocide on the Oromo people and the Beneshangul-Gumuz people. A recently published Amhara news agency report from the region suggests at least one Amhara militia member was killed in the ongoing conflict in west Oromia.

 Sudan

Abiy authorized the National Defense Force to engage in ill-advised internal wars and open the country to external attack. While this is happening in Tigray, damaging Ethiopia’s diplomatic posturing, Sudan is aggressively moving to occupy areas that it has been claiming for a long time in the same already war besieged region.  Sudan’s army has occupied more than 50 km inside Ethiopia. Sudan’s troops burned crops and displaced a large number of farmers from their homes. The Amhara militia who tried to push back on Sudan are taken into custody by Sudan and are displayed as prisoners of war in a Sudanese traditional garb. 

Djibouti

In the East, Afar and Somali’s are fighting. It is reported that Djibouti is behind Afar’s militia, reportedly to boast their claim over land all the way up to Awash valley. While Sudan is aggressively pushing into Ethiopia’s territory, Djibouti is stirring conflict between Afar and Somali.

The war in Tigray is not just with the TPLF but the people of Tigray. So also, is the war in Oromia that is being waged under the pretext of fighting the Oromo Liberation Army. With the country’s defiance force thinly spread, even with the help of the Amhara Militia and Eritrean Army, it is unclear how Abiy is going to win these wars waged on multiple fronts. With chaos raging all over the country, is on the verge of joining the club of failed states soon, if it is not already there. The fear is that the failure of the state at federal level and regional level is pushing toward anarchy.

Since Abiy came to power, the country has seen ethnic clashes, high profile political assassinations, the marginalization of large sectors of the society, closing of political spaces to certain groups of the society. Reasoned voices such as Lidetu Ayalew who commands the respect of a significant proportion of the citizens in all regions and for whom I have high regard, lead opposition Oromo party leaders such as Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba are silenced by imprisonment and intimidation. Major political organizations like the Oromo Liberation Front and the Oromo Federal Congress representing close to 40% of the population of Ethiopia have already decided not to participate in the upcoming election. Abiy incarcerated most of their leaders for no reason other than to present himself as the only candidate representing Oromia.  It is very difficult for any fair minded Ethiopian, to believe that marginalization of these political groups can bring peace to the country. How can a country that excludes the majority of its people transition to democracy?  

It is obvious that despite some paid activists’ effort to resuscitate the tarnished image of Abiy and Ethiopia following the ill-advised war in Tigray and the atrocities that followed it, Ethiopia has lost its carefully constructed image under the TPLF both at regional and international stage. Abiy has proved himself as a con artist who can say and do anything to retain power. Despite all the talks and deceits, the country is led into anarchy by PM Abiy. With that he has taken Ethiopia down the road of destruction and possibly chaotic disintegration. As an Amhara, I hate what the TPLF did to my people. However, I fear that Abiy is misleading and encouraging extremist views in the Amhara camp that will not only lead to a violent disintegration of the country but also to creating lasting animosity between Amhara and the rest of the Nations and Nationalities in the Country. 

Finally, the sham election 

Abiy’s administration finished its mandate on October 5, 20120. Using COVID-19 as a pretext, he illegally postponed the election and extended his term. He jailed all viable legally registered opposition party leaders scheduled to participate in the planned June 2021 national elections, making sure that he will be the only candidate on the ballot to win the election. According to his own handpicked Election Board, 0.03% of Addis Ababa residents are registered to vote. Election is not to take place in more than 50% of the country because of security. He cannot even fake an election. This sham election is clearly a recipe for worsening the already fragile situation of the country and may well be the last nail in the coffin of Ethiopia as we know it. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *