When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was picked as the chairman of the now defunct EPRDF, which entailed the post of premiership in the tradition of TPLF installed EPRDF system, in 2018, massacre against ethnic Amhara intensified in Wollega and Benishangul gumuz regions of Ethiopia.
Authorities at different levels of government, including Abiy Ahmed himself, framed the horrifying massacres first as a mishap to reform. Ethiopians justified their patience with the view that the attacks from radical ethnic Oromo nationalists will wane as the reform takes root. It turns out Abiy Ahmed’s power took root despite continued failure to deliver in terms of protecting citizen’s right to life and to live and work in any part of Ethiopia.
Later, Abiy Ahmed’s government came up with the narrative that the massacres in Oromia, Somali, and Benishangul Gumuz region are the works of TPLF machination implemented through TPLF era networks across the country. That too was given the benefit of the doubt.
Over four years now in power and with TPLF no longer in a position to plan instability in Oromo region of Ethiopia as it is preoccupied with saving itself from possible demise, Abiy Ahmed no longer have an excuse to his failure to protect Ethiopians from mass killing in the hands of the terrorist Oromo Liberation Front.
The regional administration in the Somali region, under Mustafa Mohammed’s administration, has managed to do away with security threats targeting specific ethnic and religious groups in the region. All it took was reforming the Abdi Ille era security apparatus and diligently implementing the reforms. Apart from implementing policy measures, Mustafa Mohammed’s regional administration also demonstrated commitment in terms of tackling, head on, the vestiges of TPLF/EPRDF era ideological narrative that targeted ethnic Amhara Amharas as enemies and oppressor. His view that “The narrative that paints Amhara people as an oppressor is wrong” seems to have taken root, safe to say from experiences over the past three years, in the region. The result is that citizens are living and working in the region in peace.
On the other hand, the Oromo region of Ethiopia continued to be hell for ethnic Amharas. Abiy Ahmed, led Federal government, and Shilemes Abdissa’s regional government do not seem to be bothered at all. In the latest string of massacres earlier this week, 168 ethnic Amharas were brutally massacred in the region, and it is apparent that unidentified authorities at the regional level of government seem to have involvement in the massacre. The regional administration seems to have admitted it when it said that it will investigate some authorities.
Yet, again, it is business as usual for Shimeles Abdissa and his boss (actually, it has become blurry as to who is the boss) Abiy Ahmed. Ethiopians have been in a mood of sorrow and anger over the unending massacre of innocent civilians in the Oromo region. Without giving a single statement, Abiy, who is known for sharing a lengthy and obnoxious message on his social media over occasion, was rather engaged in what appears to be a cover-up image building campaign for Oromia region. The latest Wollega massacre was barely given coverage on government media, as has been the case most of the time, but Abiy Ahmed’s visit to a wheat farm is given attention. Shimelies Abidissa on his part was hyperactive this week with an effort to create an image of “altruistic” Oromia regional state delivering cheques to this and that regional state as an expression of support to war and drought ravaged areas. Not just that, he spent money in Benishangul Gumuz and Gambella region for what some think to be a project of Oromization of smaller regional states.
That aside, both Shimeles Abdissa and Abiy Ahmed are on the record that they understand the importance of expressing condolences, the least they can do, in the events of tragedy. Shilemes was televised crying when Hachalu Hundessa was killed, allegedly by the military wing of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Abiy himself expressed sorrow in public. FYI, hundreds of innocent civilians were massacred by “angry crowed” in the Oromo region just a day after the assassination of Hachalu.
As was the case in the past, this week’s massacre of ethnic Amharas in Wollega is, it appears, a non-issue to Abiy and Shimeles. For that matter, even ethnic Oromo opposition parties did not condemn the non-stop massacre of innocent Ethiopians in the region.
So far, several thousands have been killed in the region since Abiy Ahmed came to power. The killing is systematic, meticulously supported by elements within the Oromia regional state structure. The massacre has all the signs of genocide. But it is happening over a long period of time so that it does not capture attention like Rwanda genocide.
Abiy has certainly consolidated his power. He has fixed the army in a way he likes it. The security structure is restructured in a way to ensure that his government is secured. Ethiopians continue to be slaughtered in the Oromo region of Ethiopia. And it is happening while the regional state in the Oromo region is demonstrating to the public via state media (regional and federal) that it is emerging as an unprecedented economic and political power house. Subtleties in building in local and international media, unprecedented profit making banks, and the imposition of language and culture in other regions are not unnoticed. It is just that the rest of Ethiopians are preoccupied with shouldering the burden of the cost of avoiding the disintegration of Ethiopia.
It is also noticeable that Abiy Ahmed’s government has lost considerable support. But for those who are still giving him the benefit of the doubt, can he be trusted anymore? If there was a will, it could have been possible, like in the case of the Somali region, to stop the massacre of innocent civilians in the Oromo region. Abiy is part of the problem, there is no question about that.
Other regional states should not be silent about Oromia regional state structure supported massacre against Ethiopians. In fact, they should have evaluated Abiy Ahmed performance and hold him responsible at the party level. The parliament is as good as TPLF era parliament to the point that it is impossible to be cautiously optimistic about it.
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