The American Army -worm infestation of the Ethiopian politics, and the inevitable threat to Ethiopian unity!
By: W. Yilma March, 15/2019
As many Ethiopians knows because of the ineffective governance, widespread corruptions and human right violation by the EPRDF government, people disobedience rises and forced the government to bring “partial” change. As a result of this Dr. Abiy and his cohorts came to power. The expectation of the people from the new administration was high and, hence the majority of Ethiopians supported the power shift within the incumbent EPRDF government. But day by day because of the way the change is handling by the new administration, problems have started to rise in many corners of the country, and people displacements and suffering continues by large in many forms.
When Dr. Abiy came to power, the majority of Ethiopians including me expected the beginning of new era in Ethiopian politics. I personally believed that Dr. Abiy was a free-thinker person with high personal integrities, eager to bring a real change; free from old Machiavellian deceptive political intrigue many of our so-called “politicians” are addicted and promotes for many decades. The speech he delivered to the parliament during his inauguration attracted the majority of Ethiopians and sparks hope to think about their country’s bright political future. However, the trust many people has gave to him has started to erode by his comment after the bomb blast that has happened during the demonstration held in Finfine or Addis Abeba. After the blast without any credible information he starts accusing and pointing his finger against certain groups by saying “Yeken Jibotch”. Not only this, during his visit in the United State of America he openly condemned the last 27 years as a “dark era”. Beside this he targeted Tigrians, as if the question some of them has raised to him was sponsored by TPLF. For many Tigrians that was the time many people were started to distance themselves from the new administration, and the time they realized the likely separation of TPLF from the nominally existing EPRDF coalition.
When government officials start pointing their finger at someone or at any other groups without proof, and without due process that is the beginning of rising problems, many Ethiopians government officials has failed to understand when they come to power. Dr. Abiy should have been taken lesson from his predecessors not to repeat the same mistakes. Since then our country’s problems has started to deteriorate from time to time, and as a result of this the direction where our country is heading today is unclear. As I understood, this is because of the following main reasons:
1. The unity of the EPRDF has eroded badly due to few elites from the party considered themselves as a vehicle of changes while labeling others through continuous campaigns as “enemy” of the change, and blaming them as the architects of all forms of problems including corruptions and human right abuses, committed in Ethiopia.
2. Dr. Abiy groups deliberately worked hard to bring on his side all ethno-centric vocal Diaspora extremist groups, including armed groups without any preparation and a way-out strategy when necessary if things went wrong.
3. Although in principle it is a positive move to break the dead lock with Eritrea, the peace deal is unclear, vague and dangerous both for Ethiopians and Eritreans if not handled wisely, and cautiously to bring real peace for the people of the two countries. It became clear that the primary motives behind this vague “peace deal” is to isolate and annihilate TPLF. The drama which is going on in the name of state visits by the two head of states or people to people, and the recent border closure on the side of Tigray is a clear indication of this facts.
4. Without amending or changing the constitution with due process, Dr. Abiy directly interfering in the internal affairs of the regional states and this create a tension within EPRDF coalition and a reason to widen their differences among EPRDF member parties, in particular TPLF.
5. Dr. Abiy’s policy in all aspects are unclear and secret, even for his party members
6. He freed all jailed individuals convicted of various crimes and corruptions without due process (I am not generalizing those falsely accused due to their political choices). On the contrary he started to arrest his own former friends selectively using old fashions of accusations. Hence, he clearly contradicted himself.
I will try to elaborate the first three points as follows:
To start, it is unclear whether or not EPRDF is a coalition of those four ethnic affiliated parties such as Oromo Democratic Party, ODP; Amhara Democratic Party, ADP; Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement Party, SEPDM; and Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, or the coalition of the former two? Or whether or not the government economic policy is still developmental state or pure capitalism, or a mixture of both? Unless this issue is clear it is very hard for many people to think that at this time Ethiopia have a clear economic policy plan, and a stable government capable to run the day to day social, economic and internal and external affairs of the country. What should be clear here is that what economic policy our country should follow should not be a factor to dived EPRDF. Economic policy should not be a static as socialism or communism, and if needed it should be revised and make a correction, including constitution! Regarding this issue I do not have much to say but one thing is clear that a country without clear socio-economic plan is like a ship without experienced captain.
One of the causes what make EPRDF dysfunctional at this time is lack of unity within the party. The self-proclaimed Lema-Gedu block emerged as a vehicle of changes while labeling TPLF and few individuals from EPRDF old guards as an obstacle of the change. Since this became clear few individuals from Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) are dominated the politics of Ethiopia by isolating TPLF. The rest such as SEPDM and other “Agar” parties are easily surrendered and capitulated to the new group, and few wondering where to go! As I understood the strange animosity behaviors towards TPLF by the new group emanated from 3 reasons. 1. To consolidate their power, the new group have to create an “enemy” and as a result of this TPLF is found an easy prey for them. 2. To revenge certain groups or individuals whom they think have close ties with TPLF, both in political and economic spheres. 3. To avoid collective accountabilities for all wrong doing in their respective regional states during the past 27 years of their collective rule as EPRDF. Except Tigray, these approaches helped them to get support from the majority of Ethiopians. For any fair-minded person who follows Ethiopian politics for the last five decades, the current political game is not different from the past. As always, it is only a change of individual or groups accompanied by sensational but empty political tones to buy time through deceiving the public.
The greater mistakes what Dr. Abiy has made is inviting all the so-called opposition groups to come to Ethiopia without any proper preparations and a way-out strategy in case of necessary. In principle, no one is against it as long as it brings sustainable peace. However, many of us, who are living in foreign countries knows the danger of extreme ethno-centric Diaspora politics to the unity of Ethiopia. In Ethiopia there are 9 regional states organized based on ethnicity, but here in Diaspora there are in many tens. Without any exaggeration, the majority of Diaspora Ethiopians, including their media outlets are advocating immature, deceptive, and to the most, anarchical extreme tribal politics. I said extreme anarchy because an individual or groups who are terribly failed to bring Ethiopians living abroad together for common purpose, do not have a moral as well as legal grounds to be trusted as peace and stability advocates back home. One of the main reasons of the Diaspora extremist and other groups who are now supporting the new administration is not to bring sustainable peace and development but using the new group and Dr Abiy as a tool to revenge specific political party, and social group. Some of the diaspora political groups, activists and their media outlets are the architect to instigate social unrest in many parts of Ethiopia, in particular between Amhara and Tigrians, and between Addis residence and Oromia regional state. To me it is not only madness but deliberately designed and strategized to get support from them in the fight against those groups labeled by Dr. Abiy as opponents of the change in particular TPLF. Dr. Abiy is pursuing emotionality charged politics mainly to make his supporters his foreign bakers happy. At this time politics based on rationality does not exist in the minds of Dr. Abiy’s and his cohorts. Because of this we are witnessing its repercussions and our country is now a host of more than 3 million internally displaced people., and nearly over 9 million food aid seeker population.
I am sorry to say, but without ignoring the contribution of TPLF in widening the gap between different ethnic groups, at this particular time the greatest threat for the unity of Ethiopia is Dr. Abiy administration and some members of Amhara Democratic Party officials, in particular their hate monger supporters from inside and outside! It became apparent that Dr. Abiy and his cohorts are determined to eliminate TPLF from the Ethiopian political landscape using unstoppable all means of direct and indirect accusations (the recent ADP press release is an example to what extent the new prime minister is under the control of extremist groups). To achieve this, they strategized the following:
1. Slowly but surely, isolate TPLF from EPRDF and other sister regional political state parties and create a new party a replica of EPRDF under Dr. Abiy absolute control (similar what TPLF has done during the transition period under late prime minister Meles Zenawi)
2. Promote unstoppable condemnations and accusations against TPLF members for all crimes or wrong doing that has happened in Ethiopia and beyond for the last 27 years.
3.Encourage and support those media outlets to increase their psychological warfare against the people of Tigray in the name of opposing TPLF. At this time some media outlets are acting similar to Nazi Germany propaganda machines against Jewish people. Their main purpose is to dehumanize one targeted group using different methods, and it seems Dr. Abiy and his cohorts are insensitive to share the concerns of those targeted ethnic group.
4.If all the above actions do not bring the intended results, persuade western countries, in particular USA to label TPLF as a “terrorist” organization, and freezing all financial institutions and assets owned by TPLF in the country.
With all these odds, what Dr. Abiy and his cohorts and their foreign supporters missed to understand is that it will unthinkable to dismantle TPLF the way he dismantled Somalia Regional State party officials or SEPDM for that matter! No matter what mistakes TPLF has done to its constituents, it is impossible to erase from the collective psyche of Tigrians. The same is true for OLF and PFDJ (Eritrea) for Oromos, and Eritreans people respectively. If Dr. Abiy and his cohorts are honest and they are truly a vehicle of change they have to solve their differences in civilized way with TPLF. If the differences are not solved accept TPLF or any other political party as an opposition party, and call for formation of either transitional or care taker government. Stop the coordinating campaigns against specific ethnic group through advocates of anarchist and their war mongering media outlets. Political party and ordinary people are different and the people of Tigray do not have different interest from the rest of Ethiopians. What is timely and important to mention here is that there is a conspiracy going on to instigate conflicts between the ordinary people of Amhara, and Tigray, and the later with the people of Eritrea. What is scary is that, it seems the elites of Amhara, Tigray and Eritrea are a victim of this conspiracy, and living under uncertainty is a daily life for the people of these areas. It is the responsibility of peace-loving people from all sides to expose this conspiracy and avert the drum of war.
The other issue which need to be raised here is that the majority of those who are advocating hate and promoting extremist ideology in the name of politics does not have Ethiopian citizenship, but loose freely to involve in political activities and even nominated in various committees established by the prime minister. Regarding this issue Ethiopia have clear law, and should be applicable at this time to avoid unexpected political crises. Beside this some of the party members have a close relationship with Ethiopian adversaries and received considerable amount of financial as well as logistic supports. To the worst some of them even openly opposing the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, by sympathizing for Egypt or some said they will stop the construction of the dam once elected (by the way the person who is chairing the Diaspora fund nominated by the prime minster venomously opposing the construction of GERD, and at one time in his article posted on his favorite website encouraged the Egyptian president el-Sisi to open war against Ethiopia). If the current administration ignored this reality our national security will be endanger. If the people of Ethiopian have similar political motives the same way as Diaspora Ethiopians communities have, the country we call Ethiopia would have not been exist in the map of the world today! At this time, we are at great danger unless and otherwise the new administration thinks twice before it is too late to correct the political mistakes they had committed. Instead of going wild like American spring break bikini Girls, it is time for all of us to think critically to avert the danger poses huge risk ahead of us.
Last but not least, as we all know the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea is so complex and left unsolved even after Independent of Eritrea. I do think this problem will continue in the future due to the complexity of the problems in which many of us do not identified yet. This is why the conflicts between these two countries is unabated for more than 50 years. The border issue is a pretext for the outbreak of 1998 brutal war. Therefore, it will not be an easy task for both countries to solve by focusing only to border demarcation, initiated by Ethiopia. To get a lasting solution we should go beyond border issue by identifying core problems for conflict. However, rather than relied on their respective elites, the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea should actively involve in any peace process that could affect both people’s life. It is in both people’s memories the past brutal war, and all of us should stand together to avoid such kind of destructions instigated by elites of both countries, in particular at this time where there is a negotiation going on between the two countries. What we should understand is that elites are good in creating problems than solving it, and always advance their narrow interest by ignoring the ordinary people interests. I do think the ongoing border negotiation between Ethiopia and Eritrea is not free from this assumption. Many people including me was happy when we heard the decision of Dr. Abiy to make a peace deal with Eritrea. I personally assumed that this peace deal will be transparent, participatory, free from external interference and clean from Machiavellian political intrigues. The people of Eritrea and Ethiopia, in particular the people of Tigray and Afar are suffered a lot because of “No War No peace” situation. Therefore, the word “peace” has a meaning for these people, and therefore Dr. Abiy should get credit for bringing at least a relief from brutal tensions of war. However, observing the overall situation, except those involving in secret meeting no one knows the final outcomes of the negotiation. What is certain though is that the cozy and fancy relationships between ODP, ADP and Shabia officials and the way they behaved (I called it Desperate House Wife drama!) does not give guarantee to bring sustainable peace to the people of the two countries. This indicate that the new administration is more concerns about image building and to use Eritrea as a “proxy” to eliminate his political opponents rather than concentrating on the real issue to bring sustainable peace in particular to the people of the two countries and in general to the region as a whole.
Solving border issue is not an easy task as many people think. The delimitation and demarcation process are so complex and coasty, which needs time, knowledgeable expertise and considerable amounts of resources. Therefore, instead of limiting to border issue, both countries should give a priority in solving the real problem than their personal relationship. This Is serious and need transparency and consistency in decision making. Ethiopia and Eritrea are two separate countries and one should not be interfering in the internal affairs of the other. It is not the right of the president of Eritrea who decide which political party represent Tigray or any other regional states in Ethiopia. The same is true for ODP, and ADP! It is a day light truth, while Eritrea go back ward, Ethiopia with all its problems go forward. Therefore, it is unclear for many why Dr. Abiy and his cohorts lack appetite to solve their differences with TPLF while they have strong affection to Isyas, the most dictatorial regime of our time and problem creator not only for Ethiopia but for the entire Eastern Africa?
Long Live Ethiopia!