By Almaz Assefa
A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” – John Maxwell
Ethiopia has been in a political quagmire since the start of my adulthood which has spanned for more than half a century & more and is facing a lot of challenges which need collective solutions. In all these years of my growth and gracefully aging few leaders have come and gone governing Ethiopia. The common denominator of all the leaders who rode on the chariot of power in Ethiopia was their inability to recognize their mistakes while governing the nation. All of them thought that they were perfect and right. They thought of themselves highly which guided them to have arrogant attitudes. Their characteristic of excessive confidence or arrogance, which led these leaders to believe that they may do no wrong damaged the country by dragging it to intensified tribal conflicts causing political, social, and economic loss. The overwhelming pride caused by hubris of these leaders is often considered a flaw in character. That is why Ethiopians put their hopes on Dr. Abiy to change that facade of a hubris leader. And their expectation of a humble and low-key leader has become an unattainable dream. Ethiopian people wanted Dr. Abiy to be a motivational leader without carrots and sticks. That was what he promised to be not a leader pushing “I know everything attitudes” that devastate his leadership. When he ascended to Premiership, I think our people hoped to see that moment of pleasant attitude of change in the leadership characteristics not seen in our lifetime. Since disappointment of the Ethiopian people in their leaders from generation to generation is a common denominator, Dr. Abiy’s leadership has become also another example of disappointment of unfulfilled dream in our national political tragedy particularly in the last couple of days to fellow Orthodox Christian Ethiopians and me as his supporters. There are so many things which we all hold close to our chest dearly. What I can’t bargain about and allow anyone to diminish are my ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY FAITH, EOTC and my ETHIOPIAWINET. As I don’t have any right to question and abuse anyone’s faith, nobody including the leader of a nation has any right to jeopardize my faith and my church to danger and harm. That is why I just started questioning Dr. Abiy if he is really a leader of all Ethiopians or has a hidden agenda to advance Oromo expansion by breaking up EOTC in collaboration with the splintering group of heretics led by “Abuna Sawiros”, “Abuna Ewostatewos,” and “Abuna Zena Markos”.
Let us say someone from Dr. Abiy’s Church denomination splinters and divides his church for whatever reason. Is he going to easily abandon his church and support the splinter group without deeply investigating to find the real reason? His rush to justify those heretics by slapping language issues as a problem indicates that he is not what he wants us to think of him, not biased and influenced by the tribal politics. All the nonsense he spitted out in 38 minutes of Cabinet briefing is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Dipping into his 38 minutes of his cabinet briefing, he seems to avoid the elephant in the room, the tribalistic splintering of the Oromo faction and attempt of synodal coup d’état to damage EOTC by heretics being supported by officials in his Oromo Prosperity Party. He talks about land and properties of the EOTC confiscated unfairly by DERG & EPRDF dictatorial governments. Returning these lawful properties of the church is not a favor to EOTC. A reasonable leader and government need to investigate injustices committed on individuals or institutions and attempt to remedy that. Why should he insist on this as a special favor to EOTC? Hasn’t he done the same to Killils, other new and old religious establishments, businesses, and individuals? One thing he avoids or sweeps under the rug is criticizing the expansionist attitude of the OROMO extremists in power in OROMIA KILLIL, ADDIS ABABA CITY, and FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS.
Another frightening observation I got from the 38 minutes of Cabinet briefing is his attitude of being untouchable by bragging that his government is well established militarily and has a well advanced security system to hunt down & crush his opponents and adversaries. That means Dr. Abiy’s government keeps its ears on the ground. Winston Churchill said, “The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” A government that doesn’t have a good rapport with & trust in its people is an isolated government of the few. Its security force isn’t as powerful as the people. Yes, armed struggles are not a preferable way to change ineffective and inefficient governments in any nation, and our past is evidence to that effect. We lost a huge human capital in that regard besides economic and social devastation and no reasonable and sensible Ethiopians wish that course. But when it becomes the only available choice and means to crush down tyranny, there is no way out. That is what history of the world teaches us. Arrogance of anti-people leaders force the people to resort to taking up arms. Relying on military and security forces by the government is a sign of a weak leadership. Nelson Mandela once said, “A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” I hope that Dr. Abiy Ahmed understands the ramifications of his arrogance.
Dr. Abiye didn’t come to the pinnacle of power by chance. He dreamed, devised, worked, and calculated the ways to attain power. In that process he fashioned himself as patriotic, popular, & democratic to sell himself to Ethiopian people as a leader who can raise our nation from the ashes of 27 years of tribal politics of EPRDF. The way he presented himself, the smooth talks he delivered in Ethiopia and at events in USA, and the way he handled influential individuals in DC, such as Tamagne Beyene, by refusing to go to the event hall without him, and insisting and taking the exiled PATRIARCH with him were the work of a sleek politician. We all bought his political shenanigans. We all hoped that he would bring to end the nasty tribal divisive political atmosphere hovering over our nation. Most Ethiopians inside and outside of the country, including myself, stood by him and advocated that he needed time to tackle all problems he inherited. But the attitude he showed at the last cabinet meeting regarding the saddening ungodly pain inflicted on EOTC by the country dividing Oromo tribalistic heretics speaks louder than he could say. His argument that the issue is lack of linguistic fairness in the EOTC institution doesn’t hold water. Dr. Abiy can ask his subordinates if Oromo language is forbidden to be used at church services in EOTC. He can easily google to find on the internet that EOTC services have been conducted in Oromo language for several years. Besides recorded services, he can find EOTC mezmur in Oromo language. The reasons of the Oromo splinter group which caused such ungodly pain on EOTC are what Dr. Abiy Ahmed said that the religious institutions should avoid: ፖለቲካ : ሌብነት እና ዘር::
The members of the splinter group of heretics are motivated by the Oromo tribalism supported by the people in power in OROMIA KILLIL GOVERNMENT, CITY GOVERNMENT of ADDIS ABEBA, and in FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to advance the politics of Oromo hegemony & love of money. The sentiment exhibited by Oromo nationalists and tribalistic morons that the OROMO language isn’t utilized in EOTC is false and utter fabrication. It would have been nice to outright say that they want a separate OROMO SYNOD rather than lying about the utilization of Oromo language, and the leader of a messed-up nation in a tribal disharmonious mood should know better before making the splintering as a linguistic service issue. It is TRIBAL POLITICS & GREED by the splinter group aided and abetted by POWERFUL INDIVIDUALS in the governments of OROMIA KILLIL, City of ADDIS ABEBA, & as well as the FEDERAL government. This is the REALITY of our current Ethiopian Politics.
Warning his cabinet members not to get involved in this national issue is absurd. But he hasn’t warned the Oromia KILLIL, the Addis Abeba City, other Federal governments’ Oromo officials and their security forces and policemen who are supporters of the Oromo tribalistic movement & Oromo hegemonic criminal perpetrators. Dr. Abiy talked in his cabinet meeting about change of attitude. Until PM Dr. Abiy talks openly about anti-unity tribalistic hegemonic attitude of the OLF & SHENE supporters in power from the Killil and City governments up to Federal level, his talk about learning & changing attitude to bring peace in Ethiopia is like empty vessel making the loudest sound. Change starts within oneself and one’s environment. As the leader of OROMO PROSPERITY PARTY, he needs to teach and educate the members of his OROMO PROSPERITY PARTY to change their tribal and hegemonic attitude and voice their pledge of allegiance to ETHIOPIA FIRST. The Oromo nationalists cannot keep on deafening us with their old, tiring, boring, outdated, & backward pulling political slogans & arguments of oppression & being oppressed. As Dr. Abiy said: የተበላበት የስብስቴ ዘመን እንቆቅልሽ ከአዲስ አስተሳሰብ ጋር አይሄድም:: So, the Prime Minister should tell his OPP members that የጎሳ ፖለቲካና ዘር don’t fit the narrative of the new attitude of national unity & conscience. The PM should stop justifying this nation dividing የኦሮሞ የጎሳ ፖለቲካና ዘረኝነት:: What he avoids in this tribally charged political environment of our nation is the CONTINUOUS ANNIHILATION of the AMHARA ETHIOPIANS by those humanity lacking Oromo fanatic extremists supported, aided & armed by individuals within OROMO KILLIL & FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS. Shouldn’t the Federal government stop this injustice? Are OLF & SHENE insurrectionists more powerful than TPLF? Can’t a military power that dismantled and destroyed the well-equipped and well-funded military wing of TPLF get rid of a disarrayed bandits of extreme tribalistic country destroying called OLF and SHENE vagabonds in one sweep? It can. But as I repeatedly mentioned there are powerful individuals in OROMIA Killil & Federal Governments who support the OLF & SHENE & encourage the continuous attack on the AMHARA ETHIOPIANS. The Ethiopian people expect the leader of the nation to address openly this ongoing attacks, invasions, displacements, killings & sufferings of the AMHARA ETHIOPIANS perpetuated by OLF and SHENE extremists. He cannot keep quiet on this issue forever. As Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Being silent on the injustice on Amhara Ethiopians by OLF & SHENE equates to condoning the aggressions on Amhara Ethiopians by OLF & SHENE.
The national government has an obligation to treat all citizens equally and fairly, and its chief duty is the protection of the lives of its citizens. It cannot discriminate and favor among its citizens. Whatever protection given to OROMO splinter of heretics should be offered to the legitimate synod’s members.
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed should remember a quote from Maya Angelou: “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” He needs to make all ETHIOPIANS feel equal, cared & safe.
Ethiopia, Ethiopiawinet, & the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church survived for 3000 years before the existence of Amhara, Oromo, and the rest of almost eighty ethnic groups known, and Ethiopia, Ethiopiawinet, & EOTC will exist for the next 3000 years. This isn’t a wish but fact!!
Long Live Ethiopia, Ethiopiawinet and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church!!
Almaz Assefa described herself as “Uncompromising Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Member from Wyoming”
Editor’s note : views expressed in the article reflect the view of the writer and does not necessarily re
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