Ethiopia’s Blunder Of The Century: War And Human Atrocities Must Stop – OpEd
“I am worried that the system may fail, and if the country fails, it will be a shame for all blacks” so said Lencho Leta, Founding member of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and trusted advisor of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.
I agree with Mr. Leta. Tragically for the people of Oromia and the rest of Ethiopians, the projected collapse of the Ethiopian state and government on which I have written a great deal has a lot to do with the Oromuma project to which he, his party, and the Oromo Prosperity Party have contributed. Ethiopia may collapse under the watch of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed unless corrective measures are taken urgently.
The Oromo national question, the demand to become an equitable player in Ethiopian governance, is no longer a valid argument. The Oromo Prosperity Party dominates party, state, and government. It exercises absolute power and influence over key Ethiopian institutions: Banks, foreign exchange and federal budget, huge infrastructural projects such as the GERD, jobs, lands, national defense, tanks and bullets, air force jets, diplomatic missions, and the like.
Over the past twelve months alone, champions of the Oromuma project that bar fair play and inclusivity have done serious damages to Ethiopia’s national unity. For example, it desecrated the Ethiopian national symbols including substituting the OLF regional flag for the national flag, pushing for recognition of the Oromuma anthem while discouraging the Ethiopian national anthem in Addis Ababa, the seat of government, the hub of the African Union and home to more than 5 million Ethiopians. When you undermine inclusive diversity, you degrade Ethiopia itself.
The Abiy government also plotted and divided the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) that Prime Minister Abiy had at one time depicted as country; degraded the internationally recognized and annually celebrated Adwa victory that occurs close to the statue of brilliant leader Emperor Menelik II, tried to an alternative narrative to elevate the Prime Minister, deployed Oromo Special Forces, security, and police agents to subjugate and harass; flogged innocent civilians and killed one person and jailed several; defiled EOTC prayers and event celebrations.
Specific individuals and families have been targeted based on ethnicity and thousands of homes in the city of Addis Ababa were bulldozed with the sole intention of making the city “irrelevant” while constructing a parallel Oromo populated city called Sheger–costly for the country.
The Amhara people’s freedom of movement into Addis Ababa has been restricted allegedly because they are against change and prefer to dwell on their “the past,” theypurportedly shaped.
This exclusionary and discriminatory policy under PM Abiy aggravates mistrust, uneasiness; emboldens Oromo extremists to commit genocide in Amhara and contributes to inevitable state and government collapse if not addressed boldly and forthrightly. Blaming victims is unwise.
Compounding these corrosive and reckless acts, Ethiopia’s Parliament just lifted the designation of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as terrorist on March 22, 2023. I will not be surprised if it does not remove OLF/Oromo Liberation Army (OLA-Shane from the list, too. I presume this happened following Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Ethiopia and the conditions he may have imposed on the government of Ethiopia in general and on Abiy in particular.
I was stunned and also pleased to witness when Ethiopia’s armed forces Chief of Staff, Field
Marshall Berhanu Jula met and shook hands with Commander-in-chief of Tigray Defense Forces
(TDF) General Tadesse Worede in Nairobi, Kenya as former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta applauded during the signing ceremony of the permanent cessation of hostilities agreement between the government of Ethiopia and the TPLF, in Nairobi, November 12, 2022. “The dawn of a new day,” someone remarked.
I believe behind Getachew Reda’s appointment and the ability of TPLF forces to maintain their military hardware almost intact are a sequence of two important variables: American pressure and influence and Abiy Ahmed’s decision that Amhara must surrender Wolkait, Tegede, Telemt and Raya to Tigray. This explains the withdrawal of Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) from the region and the decision to disarm Amhara forces which leaves Afar and Amhara vulnerable.
Ethiopia’s current domestic policy appear to be driven by the United Stares in favor of the TPLF, OLA/OLF-Shane, the Oromo Prosperity Party, Egypt, Sudan, and the US national security machine. The losers are Ethiopia as a county, the Afar, Amhara regions as well as Eritrea.
I am certain that members of Ethiopia’s Parliament discussed the pros and cons of their decision, However, in my view, Parliament failed to critically assess US intentions in Ethiopia, which may lead to more sectarianism, extremism, even genocide, collapse of the government. Parliament appears to have failed to consider possible adverse consequence of its decision on the geopolitics and national security implications for Ethiopia, including the completion and sustainability of the GERD, if TPLF re-takes the contested region of Wolkait, Tegede, Telemt.
Furthermore, Parliament failed to evaluate the far-reaching implications of the US led and UN facilitated deliberations on accountability for crimes of war, crimes against humanity and others in which top leaders of the Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF are implicated.
Parliament did not apply an even-handed approach when it ignored the Amhara population, which was wronged by the TPLF, and the Oromo led Prosperity Party Government and has the legal and moral right to defend and preserve its land and identity in a similar way as other ethnic groups.
Succumbing to pressure from the USA, Ethiopian’s top federal officials, and Parliament, have raised the risk of an even more devastating civil war in Ethiopia than the last three. Parliament’s acquiescence to the USA subordinates and undermines Ethiopia’s sovereignty and national security. Equally important, it absolves those who have committed war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and economic crimes.
Due to the many concerns discussed above, I agree with Lencho Leta that the entire current Ethiopian governmental “system may fall” and with it, Ethiopia, if no corrective measures are taken urgently to arrest the consequence of what might live in history as Ethiopia’s blunder of the century.
The most sensible and prudent option going forward is for all stakeholders in Ethiopia, as well as many other African countries with similar contradictions, to set aside non-strategic differences and honestly dialogue to find common grounds. National as well as continental leaders can and must play their parts by representing all citizens and mitigate the risks of driving the continent into a permanent state of instability, which will deprive people of essential services such as the provision of water, roads, education, justice, health, etc.
Dr. Aklog Birara, former senior advisor at the World Bank.
5 thoughts on “Ethiopia’s Blunder Of The Century: War And Human Atrocities Must Stop – OpEd”
The current leadership of Ethiopia is experimenting if Ethiopia will collapse or not. Give blind eyes for all errors rather pressing that the country is peaceful and in journey towards prosperity but the opposite is visible. Displacement after displacement, killing of civilians, even initiating and waging internal war with allies and friends. Seems insane and demanding rapid opposition from all corners of people, domestic and abroad . Will end up like current Sudan or the worst as their might be war lords formed there and here in Ethiopia be it sooner or later……..
Fascinating, after war Ethiopia’s challenge seems to be appeasing US interests, continued ethnic centered leadership , and economic fragility. Ethiopia needs to strip itself of this medieval tribalism that seems to plague its leadership consistently.
I cannot quite figure out what the PM is up to. His actions appear scattershot and not aimed at systematically dealing with the more fundamental problems Ethiopia is facing. One thing for sure is that we are not heading towards peace, stability and economic prosperity. On the contrary, there is a pervasive sense that we are heading towards a catastrophe. By disarming unilaterally the Amhara region, the PM appears to side completely with Oromo irredentists and the TPLF. If there is going to be disarmament of the regions’ militias, it must be done simultaneously throughout the country. If not, the Amhara region has a legitimate reason to refuse to disarm. Constructing Sheger, the white elephant project, takes away precious resources that could be used to improve Addis Ababa. Our capital city belongs to every ethnic group of Ethiopia. The only reason for barring someone from entering it must not be based on ethnic identity. If there is serious concern that the city is not ready structurally to absorb integral migration, the ban to enter it should apply to everyone, and not to arbitrarily chosen ethnicities.
Can’t get any worse than inviting neighboring Eritrea, former foe, Somalia forces, Fano, & UAE & Turkey drones to commit genocide on own people. Ethiopia ended on that dsy – November 2020!!
II truly believe in democracy and it has been initiated in our country. When we started to have hard time in comprehending what was unfolding in our country, then I thought, it is okay, because we can still change the regime in next elections. Knowing the mischievous calculation in our current world order and the so many fake news, I had chosen to be cautious. Now, with the so many mistakes and deliberate silences from the government , the first sentiment is confusion and then disbelief. We don’t need any more bloodshed.
I am worried that collectively and gradually we, as people, are gearing our path towards more chaos precisely because we are not analysing issues from a holistic view point! I don’t know how best we could make a majority among us understand the bigger picture! It does not mean necessarily to like or to hate the current government or to ignore the so many brothers and sisters who perished or to turn a blind eye on the numerous injustices ! It would rather be to remain United against all odds! United, no one, nothing will dismantle our nation! And with our unique very old history, with our mixed populations, the world will be expecting from us yet another miracle, similar to Adwa! How could we collectively bring about a unique solution to preserve this beautiful country? Have a blessed day! Love ❤️ & Respect ✊ Ismaël