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The Ants Hurt

The Ants Hurt



The PM uttered a phrase that I, hopefully for the last time, agree with. He said: “leading Ethiopia at this juncture is akin to carrying a million ants on one’s shoulder. It hurts!”. I think he is right!Armies of “ants” (to use his metaphor) are crawling all over the PM these past few days. The PM managed to stave off a serious“ant attack”during the last two years. All this changed following the political assassination of Hachaalu Hundessaa. Let’s examine how this happened.

The PM espoused the supremacist ideology of disgruntled Amharic (PP Amhara and Derg) and Tigrigna (Shabia) speaking chauvinists. These chauvinists opted to piggy-back on the PM stride to power because he was more powerful than they were. The PM had the shield (Lemma) and spear (Jawar) of the Oromo people-majority ethnic group in the region. The chauvinists sought to alienate him from his Oromo base by giving him false yet unconditional moral support. These forces nurtured and exploited the vulnerability of the PM to superficial charm. They were not mistaken in this regard. This guy ended up promoting their scheme which, in turn, turned him against his true base.

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The PM marginalized his closest ally, Lemma Megersa. Lemma earned genuine respect among the Oromo constituency. When Lemma gave up power for Abiy, the Oromo people trusted his judgment. But Lemma made a big mistake. Oromos witnessed Lemma’s trusted candidate turning against him. Oromos lost their shield as Lemma got marginalized. But they had the spear vis a vis Jawar. Oromos hoped Jawar might influence Abiy to stay on course. Now, he imprisoned Jawar. The PM imprisoned Jawar in the wake of a political assassination of Oromo’s progressive cultural icon, Hachaalu Hundessaa- adding insult to injury. The PM lost his Oromo constituency because he dropped their shield (Lemma) and their spear (Jawar).

An Oromo PM devoid of his constituency is a weak PM. The PM fell to the chauvinist trap inadvertently. A PM who lacks a constituency can only be a puppet. Since the PM is not ready to serve as such, he made a desperate attempt to satisfice his remaining Oromo followers by turning against defenseless Amhara politicians. The PM arrested Eskinder, Lidetu, and Yilikal to satisfice his wavering Oromo followers. He sought to appease the chauvinist anger by labeling the TPLF and the OLF, sworn enemies of the chauvinists, as Ethiopia’s enemies. But the PM knows he cannot satisfy the chauvinists unless he goes exceeds accusation. So, he imprisoned available OLF leaders. The chauvinists will not rest until TPLF leaders are hunted down.

The PM finds himself caught in a trap of his own making. His dream of hunting TPLF leaders remains far-fetched. He already lost his Oromo constituency. His Oromo cadres are under enormous pressure to do the right thing. This inadvertent loss of the Oromo constituency renders the PM vulnerable to the chauvinists. Having lost his Oromo constituency, the PM’s power rests on two shaky legs: the Tigrignya speaking chauvinist (Shabia)-which offers protection, and the Amharigna speaking chauvinists (PP Amhara and ESAT)- which provides the moral support. Both the PM and his chauvinist allies already recognize that the tables have turned. They will understand the PM depends on their physical and moral support to stay in power and start dictating terms to him.

It is also a matter of time before the international community witnesses the egregious human rights violations taking place in the country behind the internet blackout. The gradual alienation of the PM will give chauvinists more leverage in dictating terms to him. The security and defense establishment will, sooner or later, realize the PM has lost his aura. They will notice alien forces operating as puppeteers.

Hence, we have a PM trapped in a deep pit. He lost his Oromo constituency by persecuting its true leaders. He needs to satisfice his wavering Oromo cadres by imprisoning the Amhara politicians. Because he lacks a strong constituency, the PM has fallen trap to the dictates of Eritrean and PP-Amhara chauvinists for moral and physical support. His international reputation is mired by egregious human rights violation reports. The international community is pressuring him to restore the internet. But this will only worsen his global image as more information surfaces. His defense and security commanders are watching him taking orders from military commanders of a much smaller country with dismay. This guy is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders in his relentless quest for power. So, if he says leading Ethiopia at this moment is tantamount to carrying a million ants on one’s shoulders, who can blame him?

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