Abiy’s Administration in a Serious Trouble as Wars Intensify on All Fronts

Addis Ababa, May 17, 2021 – (EthioHeadlines) – Information from within the Ethiopian government indicates that Abiy is caught between a rock and hard place which puts his chance of staying in power under serious question. The Tigray Defense Force (TDF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) have intensified their offensives and expanded territories under their control. While TDF is gaining increased control of a number of major towns such as Hawzen in Tigray, OLA is fast closing in on the capital, Addis Ababa. The international community is reevaluating its relations with Abiy’s administration in light of the ongoing civil war and security disasters.  

According to some reports, the Tigray Defense Force is getting reorganized. Fighting against Ethiopian and Eritrean troops has been reportedly intensified over the last few days. It has engaged Amhara militia, entering into the Amhara regional State as far as Gondar. Internal sources indicate that publicly unreleased government reports do collaborate with this report. 

In Oromia, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), according to the government internal report, controls a large swath of areas in the West, South, South West, and Central Oromia. What is more worrying for the government is that young Oromo youth (Qeerroo) have exhausted their hope for peaceful resistance. Thus, thousands are turned their focus to armed struggle and joining the OLA in droves. Furthermore, hundreds of Oromia Special Force members and Oromo members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force are joining the OLA.  

Diplomatically, the international community is putting unprecedented pressure on the government. The US and the EU are demanding that Eritrean troops pull out of Ethiopia immediately; the government indefinitely postpones the election; releases all political prisoners and starts an all-inclusive national dialogue.

The Abiy government attempted to convince the international community that the elections slated for June address the current crises. However, no one is convinced for several reasons.  First, Abiy has detained all formidable opposition party leaders. Second, major political parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) were forced from the elections. Third, there is a civil war underway in Tigray, Western Oromia, and Benishangul-Gumuz.  Fourth, even where elections were expected to take place, registration, and morale are low. Furthermore, even if the elections were to take place, the winning party is already known. Thus, the election will not bring peace and stability to the country.  

Abiy’s administration does not either grasp the gravity of the civil war in Tigray, Oromia, and Benishangul-Gumuz or does not care. In Oromia, the regional government in concert with the federal government and armed forces has started the extrajudicial public execution of citizens.  No Oromo Qeerroo (youth) is safe and spared from intimidation, arbitrary arrest, and extrajudicial killings at a whim of the military marshal rule. The peoples of Benishangul-Gumuz even do not have people who are documenting and exposing the daily killings.

Dissenting voices such as that of the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who has unequivocally rebuked the genocidal war in Tigray have emerged. According to internal sources from Ethiopia, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, delivered a harsh reality check to Abiy’s administration.

The tone of the official response from the deputy PM and Foreign minister Demeke Makonnen perhaps confirms this reality. After the visit, the National Elections Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) postponed the election by two to three weeks, citing logistical issues. Many analysts believe that the postponement might be indefinite. The NEBE announcement might have been meant to provide the Ethiopian government a pad for a soft landing. 

It should be noted that past intimidations, harassments, arrests, extrajudicial killings, and wars of aggression did not produce the desired outcome of silencing people who demand freedom, equality, democracy, and justice. On the contrary, these measures just make it harder to reach an amicable solution. The only sure way to solve the current stalemate in Ethiopia is an all-inclusive dialogue. A negotiated political solution is the only antidote to well-entrenched political stances and stalemates. In the absence of an all-inclusive dialogue and negotiated political settlement, violence becomes the only viable choice.

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