By Rasselass Imlack, PhD
Abiy Ahmed was the most popular political personality Ethiopians have seen in modern time.
Ethiopia had some watershed moments like the defeat of Italians and the return of the emperor from exile and the restoration of Ethiopia’s independence. Though this had euphoric moments for the vast majority of our grandparents the emperor didn’t enjoy overwhelming support upon his return. So many patriots were resentful towards the emperor and he had to be inclusive of his critics to build confidence in him over a long time.
The coming of the revolution in 1974 had stirred some sense of hope in the “masses” and within Marxist students but the military juntas weren’t popular in the middle and upper classes.
Of course, the military came quickly, surprised everyone and subdued with overwhelming power but the revolution was not as popular as Abiy since many were to lose from the Marxist revolution. The property class who were to lose from nationalization, those in the religious domain who were in fear of the new religion of Leninism, the liberal intelligentsia who knows how bad a communist revolution is and revolutionary parties who were contending for power did not like Mengistu. There was some strategic alliance against the old order but not overwhelming support for the Derge.
The coming of TPLF was unpopular with the vast majority of the population. The fact that it had agreed and supported the loss of Ethiopia’s access to sea didn’t make them popular. It leveraged the power of the international anti-Mengistu alliance and its loyal militia to impose itself on the people.
Abiy’s coming to power was different. It is a shame, we do not have polling agencies to record the public opinion but I can say more than 95% of the population were excited and supportive of his coming to power.
Millions of people bought his T-Shirts, most of the cars had stickers of his pictures, millions came to square for support march and he had a Rockstar type of reception in Diaspora communities. The newspapers, even the most critical like Feteh has to draw a parallel between the coming of Abiy and Moses who led Israelites from the slavery to the promised land.
This overwhelming support began to fade day by day. The stickers with a picture of Abiy is no more visible, the population in Tigray call him “Fascist” who committed genocide, the Amhara constituency have turned their faces see him as an Oromo nationalist who want to exterminate them, and the Oromo Liberation Army is gaining momentum in Oromia winning compliance of the Oromos, the Gurage’s are
gearing for confrontation, the Afar’s feel that they are betrayed to face the brunt of invasion and conflict and, the international community that bestowed him with Nobel Prize are calling for his trial for genocide. Addis Ababa residents are in fear of the ‘barbarians at the gate’, the diaspora is extremely divided and many are crossing the picket line from supporters to critics and outright opposition. Wollega is waling for God’s intervention and calling for divine punishment to descend on Abiy and his evil party. The northern are realizing the danger of Abiy’s hidden agenda of Oromuma calling for united Amhara-Tigray-Eritrea unity to defend their people under a banner of Agazians.
EPLF guys think they are sold out by Abiy for the World Bank before disarmament of TPLF.
Even within his party PP, he is neither popular nor there is harmony. The Amhara PP is divided and it’s disarray between those who want to serve the Prime Minister in exchange for V8 Toyota Land Cruisers and free Villas, and those who want to lead a rebellion against him. The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is taking town after town disrupting life in western Ethiopia, winning support from Oromo PP members and bringing its brand of barbarous acts close to Addis Ababa.
I must admit, I, for one, was in love with Abiy and I have tried to defend him on various forums but sadly now, I couldn’t bear his voice as if someone was scratching a blackboard. Instinctively my hands goes for remote control as soon as he appears on my TV.
Abiy is dropping supporters after supporters every day. Now the big question I came to ask myself is who is going to stand with Abiy when the revolution starts?
Who are his real supporters? There are some in the Protestant church but they are not a lot and their brand is being tarnished by slaughter of Christians and Islam in Wellega where a protestant Church is the majority.
The Muslim grassroot as well as the Christians now see the true color and impact of the Western version of Christianity in Ethiopia. A community that often preach to give the other cheek is not saying oh Jesus!, “am I my brother keeper” when predominately Muslim kids are slaughtered?
A community that used to boast to have received Gospel earlier than most people and prosperity gospel that claim to deposit million birr out of thin air into the bank account of congregates are perceived as con artists of protestant churches. These prosperity gospel based tricks end up on tiktok platforms making the doctrines of prosperity gospel a laughing stock.
The Protestants Christians were considered as peaceful and peace loving but now that is no more a valid argument. Now it is perceived as a violent branch of Christianity that has no concern for the slaughter of children. The Protestant church and faith has reached its peak but with the coming of Abiy it is being destroyed. The brand image of lies and tricks played on God had triggered a reverse conversion to Orthodox and the trend is difficult to stop.
Now the big question is who is capable of saving Dr. Abiy from himself? Like a drug addict he wants to remain in nirvana, a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self by detaching himself from the reality on the ground. Like Saddam Hussein, he is obsessed in building palaces and desert gardens, while the country is on the brinks of genocide and destruction.
Saddam was busy rebuilding palaces in ancient Babylon. He thought he would be loved, respected and remembered for palaces he erected in the fallen cities of Babylon.
The rise and fall of TPLF has proved only one thing, that is Ethiopia’s people’s ability to conceal and conserve their energy till the right time for revolution to start. A good example is TPLF. TPLF was deceived not only by the youth and the public by its own home trained cadres like Demeke, Lemma, Gedu, Werkeneh and Abiy.
The ranks and files of OPDO, ANDM, the army and the security forces built by the TPLF turned its gun on its mentors and leaders. In an authoritarian system no one knows who is on the side of the authoritarian leader till a revolution starts.
Marcus Junius Brutus was a trusted general of Caesar’s but he was the one who used the knife to stab Caesar when the revolution started. As a result, Brutus is immortalized as a father of disloyalty and betrayal. In the final hour Julius Caesar staggers towards his friend, appealing to him, but Brutus stabs him. Unbelieving, Caesar says, ‘Et tu Brute? Then fall, Caesar. ‘which means ‘You too Brutus?
Emperor Haile-Selassie lost the public and was killed by his own soldiers who were trained to protect him.
Mengistu lost the public and the public let TPLF to march on 75% of the country without resistance. The last battle took place in Gonder and there was no fighting in Gojam, Wellega, Shoa, Arsi, Harar, Illibabur, Gambella, Jima or Bale etc. TPLF lost the public support to be challenged by youth but stabbed by its own cadres I when TPLF staggered and went for help towards its OPDO cadres, they stabbed him like Brutus. TPLF trained cadres like Demeke, Workeneh, Lemma and put them in power. Abiy lost the population of Tigray, Amhara, Gurage, South, Orthodox Christians, Ethiopians living in Oromia and the population of Addis Ababa. Who is on the side of the PM will only be seen when a revolution starts. Then no one predicts who will be Brutus. There may not be time for “You too Brutus? አንተም ብሩተስ?
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