Monday, May 27, 2024
HomeOpinionAbiy Ahmed and Shimelis Abdisa Can Not Be Behind the EOC Crisis

Abiy Ahmed and Shimelis Abdisa Can Not Be Behind the EOC Crisis

Shimeles Abdissa (left) and Abiy Ahmed (right)

Yonas Biru, PhD

Anybody who accuses PM Abiy Ahmed and President Shimelis Abdisa of the Oromo tribal land as the culprits of the crisis in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) is giving them more credit than they deserve.

 There are runaway speculations that PM Abiy and President Shimelis instigated the current crisis in the EOC. Some link it to the growing alliance between Eritrea and Amhara extremists. Others think that having destroyed the TPLF, Abiy wants to weaken the Amhara by breaking the EOC asunder. Still others think the grand Oromummaa strategy requires weakening the EOC. The colorful conspiracy theorists point their fingers at the US and EU. I wish any one of the above were true. If that was the case the solution would be easier.

Abiy has no reason to create chaos at this juncture. He is working hard to regain credibility with the international community. One thing they repeat to him over and over is “the stability of the country.” The economy is hemorrhaging. He is in desperate need of international financial aid. The reason he is bending backward to work with the TPLF even after they refused to disarm and relinquish power as per the Pretoria agreement is because he cannot afford to go against them and face the wrath of the international community. 

The PM’s recent actions and inactions show he is desperate rather than deliberate and calculated. Far from being able to control the crisis, his government is in a complete disarray. His Whodunit state of confusion is more like a boxer who got knocked out in the 12th round by a hook to the jaw that he did not see coming and wonder why the guy standing over him is counting to ten.

Two things are consistent with Oromo politics. It is random. And it is stunted. After 50 years of existence, it has not matured in any meaningful way. Four years ago, the Oromo Liberation Army (Oromo-Shene) had no more than 300 ragtag bandits. Its recent advance is a function of the most incompetent government in Ethiopia both at the federal and tribal homeland level. 

The Abiy and Shimelis administrations cannot even stop their own military and militia personnel from willfully transferring armaments to Oromo-Shene. Shene in this sense is an Ethiopian force to the extent its armaments belong to the people of Ethiopia. 

A social media friend who read the first draft of this article said that Abiy has ambitions of empire building as evidenced by his new massive palace building. He respects and admires HIM H/Selassie and has a sharp focus on building a national military. This is evident in his public statements to the Army generals and rank and files to drop the Zer/Biher card at the door and pledge allegiance to Ethiopia only! 

The paradox is that he does not even control the Mojo-Hawassa Road and does not allow the military to put even 10 soldiers to protect a major artery. For me the paradox manifests an oceanic gap between desire and ability. The PM does not realize that he has become the proverbial emperor without cloth.

In September 2018, PM Abiy was fully in charge when he abolished the Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO) and created the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP). As Milkessa M. Gemechu, a former member of the Central Committee of the ODP, wrote, this involved purging “hardcore Oromo nationalists from any role in his government at federal, regional, and local government levels.”

In December 2019, when he transformed ODP to Prosperity Party (PP), Milkessa said he swung “dramatically toward the public dominance of Ethiopian nationalists who are organized around Amharic language and culture, the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Church, and those who support a return to an overly centralized unitary government.” 

Today, the PM is weakened and cannot dream of having the same power as he once had. He cannot even control the Oromo-PP.

Similarly, Jawar Mohamed was a cross between the Oromo Messiah and a self-anointed Co-Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Today, the Oromo people have exiled him into oblivion. The party he was associated with, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), was a powerful party. Today, half the people in Ethiopia in the political sphere do not know what OFC stands for. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is like the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). It exists in spirit only to honor its ghost.

Oromo intellectuals has near zero influence in determining the outcome of Oromo politics. Instead, they flow with the wind. Three years ago, Shene-Oromo was a village nuisance that robs small village banks. Today, it is dominating the on-air, print, and social media bandwidth of the Oromo politics. Oromo intellectuals bow before Jaal Marroo, the leader of Shene Oromo, as the savior of the spirit of Greater Oromia.

No matter how you look at it, and in whatever fashion you slice and dice it, Oromo politics is a random game whose trajectory is determined by accident rather than by design. Whatever design the PM has exists in his fancy and has not influence in the current dynamic.

What led to the downfall of PM Abiy? He has grand vision for Ethiopia. But lacks the temperament, maturity, and trustworthiness to lead the nation. Further, he suffers from a Messiah syndrome and a narcissistic personality. His decisions are spontaneous and often authoritative rather than deliberative and exhaustive. 

To top it off, his Cabinet consists of the who-is-who of who is not in the who-is-who list of the Ethiopian bureaucracy. Highly qualified bureaucrats who have decades of experience are passed over and people with absolutely no experience are elevated several levels beyond their grade to run critical ministries. President Shimelis is a quintessential example of this.

In the US, they say “The way New York goes, so does the country.” In today’s Ethiopia, we can say: “The way the Oromo tribal land goes, so does Ethiopia.” In the Oromo tribal land, no one knows what is going on. Where Jaal Marroo’s authority ends and where President Shimelis’ begins is anyone’s guess.

I do not think President Shimelis has a clue to what extent Jaal Marroo has penetrated the Oromo government, the Oromo Special Force, and/or the Oromo Militia. Some of the military personnel seemingly work double shifts – taking command from Shimelis during the day and serving as hitmen for Jaal Marroo at night.

Let us repeat the most important line. “The way the Oromo tribal land goes, so does Ethiopia.” Under Article II of the Constitution, the PM is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. That is easier said than done. Some of the Oromo senior military officials are aligned with Shene-Oromo. In the Oromo tribal land, nobody gives a hoot about the chain of command. The Oromo tribal land is in chaos. 

One thing the PM knows is that the Amhara tribal land that represents the second largest tribe is politically impotent. This means there is no credible challenge to his administration outside of the Oromo tribal land. He has come to terms that anything goes in the Oromo tribal land and has accepted this as a reality.

The rebel Orthodox group took action knowing that neither Shimelis nor Abiy would dare to do anything against them in the land of Oromo-Shene. One thing that has come to light over the last five years is the PM is an opportunist rather than a man of principle and integrity. 

The PM is in breach of his Constitutional duty to protect the EOC. Whether we like it or not, the only institution that he responds to is the international community. Forget African Solution for African Problem fiction that the #NoMore establishment touts. The peace agreement with the TPLF was signed at the threat of the US government. Ethiopia was economically broke and politically broken. The PM had no choice but to sign at the dotted line.

If Ethiopians want the PM to act, they must bring the international community into the equation. The PM will not act against the rebel Orthodox group and its murderous gangsters unless there is pressure from the international community.

The current crisis can result in far more crises than the war with the TPLF. We in the diaspora have a responsibility to educate the international community. We must start an international campaign to block international aid to the PM’s administration until he musters the courage and rein in the tribal mafia and kingpin culture that has taken over the Oromo tribal land.

The international community must stop funding the Abiy Administration. 

Editor’s note : views in the article reflect the views of the writer, not the views of 


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  1. This idea that Abiy is struggling to contain the radical tribal elements of his constituency, and that he doesn’t have the power of the federal and state apparatus to contain them is just bunk. It’s been 4 years and he has shown the kind of power he has with his campaign against TPLF. You can’t have it both ways, i.e., praise him for summoning state power against TPLF and decry he is all alone when he fails to curb Shene. There are dozens of speeches (by Abiy and Shimeles) and actions or lack thereof over the last 4 years that prove whatever platitudes Abiy has uttered about Ethiopia are just lies. So occam’s razor applies so aptly here. The man is an Oromo nationalist, more OLF than Dawd Ibsa, who, like such tribalists eat, drink, and breathe hatred of Amara, and by extension Ethiopia.

  2. “The rebel Orthodox group and its murderous gangsters” comment in the article, ” sums up the author’s biased viewpoint. It says a lot about the article’s skewed perspective as a whole. The comment has the potential to undermine the article’s entire goal, whether it was to impart knowledge or spread cheap propaganda.

  3. Yonas Biru (Phd)
    Do you think or trick ? You are always living in the realm of “alternative facts” You will be remembered in the annals of history for inventing a non-existent Amhara extremist and coining Amhara- shene – undermining the struggle and revealing an utter disdain for fanos ( men and women for the underdogs ).
    Kudos to u!

  4. What you termed “runaway speculation” in Par 2 is no more speculative than your own speculation that Abiy is a naked emperor with no power left to stabilize the country.

    By your own admission, he is the one who rendered dangerous demagogues and parties impotent. He was able to rally Ethiopians of all shades to avert dangerous situation in the north. He even excited Ethiopians to part their meager income to build the Grand Renaissance Dam, GERD. Abiy can, by the stroke of his pen, or rather by the thrill of his voice, win back the critical Amhara & the mass of Oromo support if he dares to act on the excesses of chaotic Tribal Oromo region where hundreds of thousands of Amharas, yes Amharas, were killed and evicted. He could put the rebel Sinodos leaders under control and subdue the current chaos.

    But he wouldn’t! Because most of the “speculation” in paragraph 2 appears to be valid, very valid.

  5. It would be interesting to see how well for the so-called Amharas to work with you and how that would affect your invitation to salvage the country assuming your assessment is spot on. You will definitely get “International” support with the coining of the terms you have so far made. That would melt the heart of the ferenji you need in your plan. You sir and your like can do your your majic.

  6. Yonas Biru, PhD, So, if you want to know why you suck at writing, here are three of the most probable reasons:
    1. No Job offer was given by Prime Minister, like Head of National Bank.
    2. you can’t speak Affan Oromo, you will be isolated if Oromo orthodox church is established?
    3. Just, human nature scared of new things.

  7. Yonas Biru

    You are obviously the propaganda wing of Oneg Shene.

    I read your poison laced article with utter disdain where you labelled the valiant fano warriors as oneg shene similar to your traitorous leader Ably Ahmed aka Jr Meles Zenawi.

    No matter how many PhD you claim you have you are a paid Shene propagandist, and the Ethiopian diaspora can smell your stink from a mile away!

    Shameless, racist traitor! Good riddance!

    Ethiopia shall prevail!

  8. Looks like Borkena is another disciple of z extremist & terrorist group of Shimelis & Abiy who tries to defame z orthodox religion of z majority.

  9. I agree with Dr. Yonas Biru that PM Abiy is an opportunistic narcissist who suffers from messiah syndrome and is an incapable leader to protect the EOC from those murderous rebel groups. It is at his watch that thousands of Ethiopians have been murdered by the paramilitary group “Shene” that is armed by Shimelis Abdisa’s government, and hundreds of thousands have been chased away from their homes.

    However, I respectfully disagree with Yonas that Abiy is not the architect of the Orthodox rebel group. He is for sure capable of playing the dirty game. Shimelis Abdisa is his foot soldier.

  10. Did you the ” Orthodox and murderous group”? Yet you flinched on Jal Masto, killing in Wellega via orders of Egypt? I guess Jal Maaro is saint. How come you don’t say the recent killings of Orthodox followers and priests in Oromiya? Why lead the country by Abiy and Shimelis if they can’t lead? Aby and Shinelis were seen having a meeting George Soros. Are they taking orders from this evil man?

    It is very obvious and clear, 60 years started to destroy Orthodox, today it is out in open. The followers must protect who they are and what Ethiopia is not brainwashed foreign influenced colonization changing it’s face and using weak Ethiopians.

    It is exactly the same today what Ases: Menilik, Tedros, Haileselassie and Yohanees. It is still the same colonization, it is still the same Nile and resources. The difference is they bought Bandas this time with little bit of spice instead of them directly attacking. Abyi is lying he is too weak to do anything, if he is smart, he should transfer power to pro Ethiopian Oromo. It is evident the country is under the control of some forces where they can roam as they please. What happened to the ” hero Mekelakeya”? Is it empty bravado if they don’t protect the country? More Ethiopians are willing to be recruited to protect their country instead Liberation fronts: Olf, Shabia, Tplf who have been destroying the country and the region as mercinaries, are filling Mekelakya. That is why the killing of Ethiopians will continue.

    Ethiopians and Eotc are being deceived by Aby and Mercinary Aba Mathias. All talks internationally and domestically on issue of Eotc is by mercinary Ava Mathias who is protected domestically and outside because he is going to destroy the Eotc.

  11. Once again this PM has proved many wrong. He started getting himself in this crisis and problem solved almost overnight! While.many among us were beating the drums of war from their comfy homes, he and the elders got down to work and all is well now with the church. Btw the two elders Haile and Derartu should be given the rank of a four star general. Please just do it PM Abiy bin Ahmed

  12. trully.most of the time oromo elites guided by immoral life principles such as loving false and confused speech,
    rigid fabrication ,racism ,corruption,genocide,warmonger the so like criminals are belongs to oromo politicians.
    so you have low and distorted attitude and opionion towards other society,you can not live together with other
    tribes because of your inability to entertained the diversity. your ability is blaming and accusing any other tribes
    without enough evidence. Your political strength is killing innocent civilian due to their identity.
    we knew that the last 50 years oromo political struggle is too weak and opportunistic to tplf strategy. There was no
    good enough educated oromo elite who can discuss and persuade other non oromo societies to build
    democratic administration.


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