Does Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed represent the epitome of a volte-face in the region’s politics. Perhaps! His recent actions and words are not vastly different from those of Charles De Gaulle in 1967 or so it seems. He made a bomb-shell kind of an MoU with a region of Somalia, much like De Gaulle did when he pronounced “Vive le Quebec Libre” in Montreal on July 24, 1967, and then skipped all engagements in Ottawa and left Canada.
Abiy Ahmed skipped the meet of IGAD in Uganda much like De Gaulle did. He did not have the courage nor the temerity to face the after-effects of what he did and talks behind a group of appointees called the Prosperity Party in Addis Ababa, who have no independent thought processes. The attempt to split Somalia into parts is not that of a wise man but that of a double-face man who can drop anyone any time from his calendar. He did the same to Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea who supported him in his internal war on Tigray. The two are not on speaking terms now, it appears. Why would Somalis of any walk of life or region trust him?
For thousands of years the Horn of Africa region represented a region of hope and development and only declined and drastically during the last two hundred years, breaking down into its current political infrastructures. Before then, history tells us they had a say in the then known worlds. They conducted business and had relations with Asia from West to South to East and Europe. Why is Abiy making the problems of the Horn of Africa those of other states like the United Arab Emirates? West Asia has its own problems, which they are unable to solve for over seventy years and they should not be allowed to project their cynical influences into the Horn of Africa States, a region which could be as wealthy , as rich and as more powerful like others, should it pay attention to its needs and work on it.
It has all the resources it needs to develop in this emerging world, where sides are being taken. Should the Horn of Africa countries choose differing sides or the same side. It is our belief that they should all be on the same side, instead of differing sides. They can then thrive together and prosper. Dispersed forces and energies represent weakness and eventually lead to failures. The Horn of Africa should not fail again, and this is perhaps, is where Abiy is driving the region to. This cannot be accepted and should not be allowed.
It is, indeed, mission impossible for himself or Ethiopia to embark on a new war with Somalia. It is neither beneficial for his country nor for Somalia, two impoverished states that both live on handouts from others. He was supposed to calm and put down the flames in his country, help others put down theirs, and lead the region to peace and reconciliation and not to war and further splitting and breakups. He was supposed to collect the region together and move them in the same direction instead of making the region lose direction again and get lost in the jungles of the pitiless world of today.
Can Abiy Ahmed ally his foreign policy totally to that of the United Arab Emirates and become a client state of that small emirate? The Ethiopia we know conducted its foreign policy independently. It should not carry out its foreign policy to be such subservient state to another much smaller country. We know most Ethiopian elites understand the big picture. They know that their country’s foreign policy is at a loss and that history is not waiting for them. It is on the move. Peace, for the first time in over a century, was settling down between the lowlands and the highlands of the region and the disturbance being caused the current Ethiopian administration should not be allowed. The foreign Minister even left as he could not accept the direction to which the Prime Minister is steering things.
The four countries of the region, namely the SEED countries, can live together and work together. The region has a chance to recover and become a truly prosperous region, if only it avoids going into a new cycle of wars as is being prompted by Ethiopia’s directionless foreign policy. It is imperative that the region should realize its significance and its assets. It is strategically located, owns a large youthful population that can be deployed with dexterity to turn the machines of economic activities, become a market as well and exploit the resources of the region both above soil and sub-soil for the development of the region.
We hope he heeds.