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HomeOpinionAbiy Ahmed: The Third Dictator (Leo Okere)

Abiy Ahmed: The Third Dictator (Leo Okere)

Abiy Ahmed and Shimeles Abdissa (Photo : SM)

Leo Okere

For the first time in the history of Ethiopia, an Ethiopian ruler prevented Ethiopians to go to a Sunday service. 

Sunday, the 11th of February 2023, will be remembered as the day that Abiy Ahmad did what even the Fascist government that occupied Ethiopia from 1936 to 1941 did not do: prohibit Ethiopians to attend church on Sunday. On this day of infamy was thus unveiled the face of third dictator of Ethiopia: Abiy Ahmad.

Colonel Mengestu Haile Mariam was Ethiopia’s first modern dictator. Since Everybody knows the suffering he inflicted on Ethiopians, no need to recount them here. Ethiopia’s second dictator was Meles Zenawi. It is not necessary to dwell on Meles and his TPLF’s crimes against Ethiopia and Ethiopians, for they are now well known. Though the TPLF ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist for 27 years, it was kicked out of power in 2018 by an ethnic cabal of Amhara and Oromo ethnic members of the ruling body.

The cabal named Abiy Ahmad, the leader of the Oromo ethnic party, Prime Minister. In his acceptance speech, Abiy conquered the hearts of Ethiopians by talking about unity and peace, brotherhood, democracy, and the primacy of citizenship over ethnic chauvinism. Listening to his speech, we believed that we had at last a politician who understood our yearnings for decency and democracy. We saw in his numerous talks and writings on “መደምር” the prospect of Ethiopians working together for a better future. Ethiopians saw him as a patriot and a wise person. And the world gave him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Well, Abiy fooled us all: Ethiopians and the Nobel Prize Committee. Writing on the duplicitous politician, Machiavelli stated, “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” We saw what Abiy appeared to be and accepted him as the “saviour” of an Ethiopia victimised by almost half a century of indiscriminate torturing and killing. But we did not know who he really was.

But we should have known better. Blinded by a desperate hope for better days, we consciously forgot that Abiy grew up under the wings of Meles, imbibing his ideology of ethnic hatred, particularly the hatred of Amharas. Meles was the political godfather of Abiy. Thanks to Meles, he rose up through the ranks of the EPRDF party and government. Indeed, Meles has such confidence in him that he appointed him to an important post in his dreaded security apparatus. 

Because we were hungry for a decent leader after decades of blood-thirsty dictators, we closed our eyes to Abiy’s perfidious background. Sure, we saw him make some faux pas now and then, but we attributed it to the political instability created by those who were threatened by his promise to institute democracy. But we never suspected he was a duplicitous politician of such magnitude.

On the duplicitous politician who appears to be decent but is in fact the embodiment of political evil with no regards for his subjects, Machiavelli wrote, “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” Abiy appeared to be a democrat, but few knew, outside the circle of his separatists schemers, who he was. Yet the signs were there.

Surprisingly enough, among my colleagues, the only persons who saw the tale-tale signs of his camouflaged perfidy were two women. Call it “female intelligence or intuition” ! They told us, “restrain your enthusiasm for Abiy; he is not the person you think he is.” How right they were! Behind his photogenic smile, the suave appearance, and polite demeanour was a  resurrected Meles, more cunning and more determined to bring to fruition the goal of his godfather: the ethnic disintegration of Ethiopia. The only difference was whereas Meles wanted to engineer the disintegration of Ethiopia in a manner that favoured the independence of Tigray, Abiy is aiming to disintegrate Ethiopia in ways that favour the independence of the newly-minted state of Oromia.

But a powerful historical institution—the   Orthodox Tewahedo Church—stood in his way. Historically rooted churches have been always anathema to dictators. Stalin decimated the Russian Orthodox Church. Communist China, Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba repressed the Catholic Church. Latin American dictators killed Catholic priests. Cardinal Romero of El Salvador was one among many priests assassinated by the dictators of Latin America. 

Similarly, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has suffered a similar fate in her history. Under Fascist occupation (1936-41), she was a target of persecution and killings. Recall the massacre of Debre Libanos on May 20th, 1937. Over 500 monks and members of the Church were assassinated in cold blood. The same evil desire to subjugate the Orthodox Tewahedo Church animated modern Ethiopian dictators. Mengestu killed the Ethiopian Patriarch Abuna Theophilos and persecuted priests and deacons as “anticommunists.” Meles forced Patriarch Abune Merkorios  into exile and arrested and tortured the officials and active members of the Church who refused to adopt his ethnic ideology. In his place, he imposed on the church, Abuna Paulos, ethnically related to Meles and reputed to be more devoted to promoting the ethnic politics of Meles than to bringing God’s word to the world.

Like Mengistu and Meles, Abiy knows that  one institution stands in his way to dismantle Ethiopia: the Orthodox Tewahedo Church. One thousand and seven hundred years old,  the Orthodox Tewahedo Church embodies the historically founded and long-lasting trans-ethnic unity and dignity of Ethiopians. As a historically rooted institution, it transcends ethnicity, gender, social status and professions and gives Ethiopians a space of peace, brotherhood, individual conscience and moral responsibility. Hence the fear of the Church that inhabits Abiy Ahmad, the new dictator, for the Church provides an intellectual and moral space for identifying and resisting the injustices humans inflict on humans. 

No wonder, Abiy is engaged in a campaign to destroy the Orthodox Tewahedo Church and replace it with one that serves his ethnic purposes. This seems to be the lesson Abiy has learned from his godfather Meles: put somebody at the head of the Church— Abune Sawiros, in the present case—to play the role of Meles’s Abune Paulos.

Abiy is more cunning than the two dictators that preceded him. He believes that Meles’s tactic of simply replacing the Patriarch by another of his choice was not sufficient in the long run. What would be more effective to implement his policy of disintegrating Ethiopia is to split the Church and establish a parallel Synod. Thus, as one could see from the public support he gave to Abune Sawiros and company on 31 January 2023, he has engineered a more effective means of destroying the  Orthodox Tewahedo Church: infiltrate the Church using ethnic secessionists and impose an  ethnic-divide-and-rule that effectively undermines the integrity of the Church and the last remaining bastion of Ethiopian unity. 

Note that we are not dealing here with a doctrinal schism. The reason Abune Sawiros, the leader of the rebel group,  gave for splitting from the Church is administrative: language rights. Abune Sawiros’s handler is evidently Abiy Ahmad, for the latter gives the same administrative justification as the former for the split. That Abiy and Sawiros are raising the same issue to split the Church is of course not a coincidence. Both believe that it is easier to split the Church with an administrative reason than with a doctrinal one. The former reason opens the door for Abiy Ahmad’s government to intervene in the affairs of the church in the name of a non-existent issue: language rights in the Church.  

In pursuit of undermining the last bastion of Ethiopian unity, the Abiy government has been encouraging the use of security forces to take over by force churches and church properties and hand them over to the rebel bishops. It  is openly resorting to intimidation, arbitrary arrests and murders of priests, deacons and lay officials of the Church. It has muzzled all state funded media from transmitting the communiques of the Holy Synod while at the same time providing media platforms for the rebel group. It has closed social media to prevent the circulation of information that could allow Ethiopians to judge the situation by themselves. It is encouraging the security forces to engage in lawless acts, including shooting to kill, against those who are perceived to support the Orthodox Church.  

Information is also coming out that the PM has been twisting the arms of rich Ethiopians who are members of religions other than Tewahedo to contribute money to the rebel group to facilitate the material organization and institutionalization of itself. His agents in the Diaspora are also apparently involved in organizing a go-fund-me campaign to the benefit of the rebel group. 

What Abiy forgets is that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been around for more than 1700 years. It has survived multiple persecutions, the massacres of the Fascist regime, the repressions of the Mengestu and Meles regimes. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church will also survive Abiy’s repression. But Abiy will go down in Ethiopian history as a leader who worked hard to destroy the Church, fragment Ethiopians, and turn them against each other.

Applying the words of Albert Einstein to Abiy’s destructive acts, we could say, the survival of Ethiopia is not threatened by Abiy’s hatred of Ethiopia and the disruptive policies and actions he pursues against Ethiopians, but rather by Ethiopians who stand on the sidelines and allow his evil acts to continue with impunity.

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


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  1. I believe religion and dependency on uber religiosity or monopolistic spirituality aren’t necessarily themselves healthy socio-economic and intellectual virtues
    As Stalin once said excessive preoccupation with it has narcotic effects on ithe ndividual and at society levels. Further, religious leaders a don’t necessarily act out of benevolence . I mean, most them are not without personal power ambitions or monetary incentives. That said , clear separation of modern State against religious institutions should be respected. But what is happening with Abiy’s regime like his predecessor dictators ,including Haile Selassie, isn’t such case. He is abusing and using when it fits his political agenda in the same breath.

  2. Eternal Quotation:

    QUOTE: “what is happening with Abiy’s regime like his predecessor dictators , including Haile Selassie, ……. isn’t such case. He is abusing and using when it fits his political agenda in the same breath.” UNQUOTE by Plainview

    PERFECT Statement: Indeed it is an honest “plain view”. WHAT A CLASSICAL TRAGEDY!!!!

    Dear Ethiopians, find another pass time game to occupy your time >>>>> TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT.

  3. Abiy Ahmed came popped up on the political arena in 2018. He begged Ethiopians for forgiveness, promised to be a transitional leader to transform Ethiopia from the past 27 years of misery then to a better future. The kind hearted, gullible Ethiopian en masse wished him well, elevated him on high pedestal and gave him all the political and moral support politicians all over the world envied. But alas, this mad man who claimed a bloodless and peaceful transition of power made Ethiopia bloodier than even derg militarist regime managed.

    አምስት አመት ሊሆን እኮ ነው:: በአፉ እስኪያንገሸግሽ ድረስ እረ በቃ ቱልትላህ አደነቆረን እስኪባል ድረስ: የሚያወራው ሌላ: ተግባሩ: ትዕቢቱ: ጥራዝ ነጠቅነቱ: አጭበርባሪነቱ:ጭካኔው: ርህራሄ ቢስነቱ: አስመሳይነቱ: ሌላ!!!!!! ይሄንን ሰውዬ የኢትዮጵያ ቅን መሪ ብሎ ከአሁን ወድያ የሚያስብ ካለ ከማሞ ቂሎም የባሰ ቂል ነው::


  4. When I look at the photo of these two leaders I see one who has a problem controlling his weight and the other starting to bulge at the waistline. It does not matter how tall you are but once you start pitching a tent at the beltline you are signing a certificate for an inevitable sudden death or other health complications such as a variety of tumors. It is also disgusting for others to look at. The best advice I can give to these two young men is to minimize the portions at your breakfast, lunch and dinner tables. Cut back on that cuumaa(chuma) and butter. Also think about those millions who go to bed hungry in Boranaa and other districts in Oromia also in Amhara region. Feel responsible and trim up!!!!

  5. The Synod is mostly Amara and never protested Abba Mathias’ support for TPLF! Mahbere-Qidusan has become Amara Extremist Organization in Orthodox Christian Hat! No ethnic should advance & assert its hegemony over the 85 others disguising as X/Y/Z!

    Isn’t it Abiy’s regime that set up an Electoral Board headed by no other than Birtukan Mideqsa [survivor of gross human right violations under Meles/TPLF]? So, there won’t be any shortcut to power via the ‘Transitional Government’ crap. Hence, any Ethiopian is more than welcome to renounce foreign citizenship, run in elections, and lead Ethiopia!

    STOP your Petty Misinformation/Disinformation Campaign! Addis Ababa is the world’s 3rd diplomatic capital. Hence, ahead of any major diplomatic session, Ethiopian security forces always hold drills. This time, it is in view of the upcoming 32nd African Union Session. So, as always, the Airport-to-AU main-and-feeder streets were closed to public.

    I agree with what you wrote about Mengistu/Derg, Meles/TPLF, etc. However, it was Haile-Selassie’s regime that made Ethiopia synonymous with “Famine”, “World’s Poster Child of Poverty”, “We are the World”, etc. I hope that jogs your memory. Compare: As we speak, thanks to Abiy, tons of Ethiopia’s wheat is loaded on tracks FOR EXPORT!

    Well, Abiy took over a TPLF-ransacked Ethiopia and kept it afloat with USD 1 billion from UAE’s Prince MBZ. Abiy’s regime is feeding 10 million school children twice a day! Addis is feeding over 45, 000 poor residents twice a day at 15 Community Centers. Moreover, the Sheger Bakery and Public-Private Bakeries give free bread to the needy.

  6. I do not consider Abiye to be an aspiring/real dictator. Perhaps he is not really good politician, partly because of his young age growing under in the age of young/immature politicians calling themselves ‘revolutionaries’, and more importantly lacking real experience leading such a big and very complex country that Ethiopia is. He did not even have track record of presiding in a region of his own ethnicity. He loves attention of admirers, which can easily go over his head. He should be given time to mature on the job and become real statesman. In the mean time, I hope the multitude of wannabee ‘opposition parties’ learn from his mistakes and take steps to merge and develop sensible united political platform to unseat the Prosperity Party and its leaders coming the next general election.

    Having stated the above, I believe Abiye has proven himself to be very good in identifying and implementing projects, and his skill in that part of country governing should be utilized whether the Prosperity Party loses or wins. Perhaps he even could serve as deputy PM in charge of economic development, with the senior PM taking charge of the politics.

    • Worqu Belayneh poor pupy , an immigrant in Oromia

      Rogue rascal bandit amhara neftegna spokesperson genocider of Oromo

      You and mahibreseytan will be eradicated and obliged to leave Finfine, capital of Oromia.
      Kulibi church belongs to Oromia nd all its resources should be spent in Oromia. Robbers and murderers like aba petros and abraham in unholy synod of amhara presiding Orthodox churches and stealing its resources.

      Amhara bishops obliged to appear in oromia high court to pay compensation for many oromos killed by mahibrekidusan members . Mahibrekidusan gangsters were using gunns and sticks to attack oromia police.
      All churches in Oromia and nation-nationalities belong to Oromia and nationalies but not to satanic amhara elites like petros and abraham , diaspora.

  7. ፊን ፤ (ፈነነ)
    የፊን ፤ (ፈነነ) ትርጉም – ፈር ፤ መውጣት መፍሰስ።

    The so called Finfine is the location of the hot springs in Addis Ababa, near the Empress Zewditu Memorial Hospital. The word Finfine is not even derived from any oromo root words. The ethnofanatic oromo tribalists are foolish enough to think Addis Ababa, the city founded and established by one of the Greatest Ethiopian Emperors of all time, Emperor Menilik II belongs to them. It does not.

    Addis Ababa is for Addis Ababans!!!!! This fact will be taught to the oromo militant ad nauseaum, day in day out, every day, every hour, every minute, every second of the day. We challenge the oromo militant to show us a single viable town, a single viable city in the entire of Ethiopia, built by exclusively the oromo militant, developed and established from scratch.

    The city of Harar, the city of Dire Dawa, once prolific metropolitan centers, on par with Addis Ababa, with beautiful Harare, Somali, cultures, ingenious trade skills and hospitality now have fallen in ruins under the regional oromo militant rule of 27 years of TPLF and 5 years of abiy and his current pp.

    Anything the oromo militant touches, dies on the spot. The oromo militancy knows nothing but violence to subjugate, kill,murder, mayhem, burn down and destroy what it thinks does not belong its exclusive clan and religion. In a fractured Ethiopia, the first group that will disintegrate to ashes and pieces will be none other than the self cannibalizing oromo militant tribalists pretending to live in the hitherto non existent and henceforth not to exist political fiction, non contiguous land in Ethiopia’s history ever, called oromia.

    So the tribalist oromo militant is warned, be careful, be very, very careful of what you wish!!!!!!

  8. Why does this writer talk as if he is Ethiopian?

    Saying us/we/our and things like that.

    Especially West Africans, it’s better to avoid them.

  9. Ethiopia is a fragile country that its people do not have common sense on their Culture, history and future vision. So the leaders are come to make their ethnic better and to revenge the previous one. The problem is nature of the country; you cannot make institution that can save guard the entire citizen in equal way. And also it is obvious that is what empire countries do. As my Recommendation since the name and the expecting result in the horn is false from Ethiopia it has to be dissolved as the rest of empires in the world then the horn and the red sea arena will be stable


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