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The warning lights

The warning lights:

Daniel Mamo  7-24-19


Recently I called my uncle in Addis Abeba. We just started conversing when it was abruptly cut and I started hearing back the apparent record of what has been just said over the line. I cringed and then made repeated calls over the next weeks and the result was the same.

It appears that the Abiy government has started to be paranoid in just over a year of coming to power. Did I hear of the arrest of what you can call political prisoners, hundreds of them? Isn’t that a bad sign for a self-proclaimed, EPRDF in-house reformer?

Recall Abiy speaking about the short path available to a dictatorship. Was that a threat or was that what he wanted all along? Is the widely acclaimed “medemer” agenda that he propagated just a tactic to buy time, knowing that itappeals to most of us?

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In other words if he rejected the ways of the Woyane,why does he find himself speaking about dictatorship as an option? Is he nostalgic forthe days when everyone cowered?  We all know that he cut his teeth in that system although we preferred not to hold that against him. Is this what is making him drag his feet?

PM Abiy recently spoke about the constitution being a result of “sacrifices”paid by blood.(a referenceto the Woyane claim). He seems to indicate that it is a document cast in stone and has to stay even with its deeply flawed and contentious clauses. Must he attempt tosilence us using such a flimsy argument such as “sacrifice”?

Abiy clearly spoke against the divisive politics of his party and received unprecedented support bordering to reverence. The constitution and policy of the state was very divisive. It was made to be deliberately divisive. It had an evil motive.Did he seize the unique moment created by his immense popularity borne of optimism of a whole nation? Can he succeed while standing in the shoes of the Woyane established (ostensibly dead)EPRDF?Is that realistic? Can he see the dichotomy in his statements?

On the economy: Will Ethiopia economically change without solving the land issue? Is Abiy and his government content in perpetuating our serf status?Would they initiate a debate to formulate another form of ownership – ownership that creates wealth and empowerthe farmer?

On education: It slowly dawned on me that the government apparatus is filled with people with dubious educational backgrounds. A civil service education is hardly an academic achievement. The mediocre cannot run any given country.Did Abiy attempt to attract intellectuals of merit to his entourage? Does he have seasoned professionals and advisors that can help craft policy and strategic directions for the country?

On peace: Some peculiar personalities with right-wing nationalistic agendas are aggravating the divisive politics thatwerea hallmark of the Woyane. These “new woyanes” are people that play on the emotions of sectors of our population. Does Abiy realize they are dangerous and have to be stopped?

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Most dangerous are the emerging“Amhara” nationalists. Can the“Amhara”afford to try to create a narrow nationalistic agenda just because there are idiots that play the game elsewhere?Isn’t it  a sure way of stumbling in the trap of the woyane strategy of weakening the state and helpingerode the history of our commonheritage?This country belongs to all of us. We all have a stake on each geographical part of it – be itAdigrat, Gimbi, Jijiga or Mettema.

On Justice: “Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it”. Can Abiy continue withoutputting any tangible effort to investigate the horrendous crimes committed during the EPRDF era, including crimes of an economic and strategic nature? We must not seek retributionbut we need answers. The Woyane almost covered up atrocities committed during the dergueonce power was in its hands. It was not interested in justice nor in learning from the past. Is Abiy going that same route?

Finally on Abiy’s beautifully coined word of medemer: Our country is one of the shamefully poorestand medemer in the short term can only be one thing –working to achievefirstfood security and therefore removing the name “Chigarams” from our back? Believe me that is what we are known for, to the extent that there is a term called “humanitarian tourism” – destination Ethiopia. That is a shame and we have carried that far too long. There were other countries known for it but long since scrappedit off their back. We are overdue.Please lead us to focus on the simple issues that are in our hands to accomplish(dig water wells, reservoirs, plant trees, grow as much food, clean our streets and neighborhoods….). We got no time for ethnic thinking and fragmentation. That has no dividend in the end. Please nurture our hope and enthusiasm and the way to do that is to completely discard and disown the woyane concept of division and hate mongering.

Thank you



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