A call for Action
By Ethoipia Hagere
What concerned Ethiopians should prioritize – Pointers for Emergency Action
By briefly outlining five verifiable wrongdoings, Part 1 has argued that the multipronged assaults Abiy is waging against Ethiopia are not random and innocent mistakes borne out of ignorance and incompetence. On the contrary, they are intentional and executed with method and design. Ethiopia is at a critical juncture, at a tipping point! This period is the most dangerous in Ethiopia’s recent history – more dangerous than when Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974; more dangerous than when the butcher despot Mengistu Haile Mariam fled and EPRDF took over; more dangerous than when PM Meles passed away; more dangerous than when Abiy himself came to power following the 2018 eruptions. This transition period is different and fraught with more risk. This transition portends something cataclysmic. All Ethiopians within and outside the country, any Ethiopian who cares, should arise to forestall it. Here are some pointers, not necessarily in order of importance:
- Articulate a positive agenda on the basis of alternative Vision that is founded on the basis of the inviolability of Ethiopia’s territorial integrity
Groups that thrive on divisions and conflicts have been setting the agenda for political discourse in Ethiopia for far too long. It is not enough to point out the threat PM Abiy is creating to Ethiopia’s continued existence. Our recent past history shows that the Ethiopian elite- of whatever hue – mobilizes easily to forge alliance AGAINST the existing order. Once it achieves its objective of doing away with the existing order, it is unable to keep the momentum and build a sustainable replacement. Opposition to the Oromuma hegemonic aspiration and action is not sufficient, though necessary. We need to craft a more expansive, a more inclusive and achievable vision. We need to set an alternative positive agenda to which a majority will subscribe. We need to learn to unite and mobilize FOR and TOWARD a SHARED vision and goal toward whose achievement there will be consensus. That is, the vision should be something which any DECENT human being cannot object to. This is easier than done, but we need to start! Getting to this point will demand hard work, discipline, and consistency. Our recent history indicates that political alliances are often forged tactically, without any long-term strategic envisioning. That is why i.e., because of absence of vision and strategy that our politics has been short-sighted, characterized more by intrigues and short-termism than anything wholesome. That is why we have been unable to produces statesmen of Mandela’s standing, but degenerate, dwarf politicians.
- Build a broad Coalition of the responsible, the concerned and the progressive legitimately wary of and threatened by the hegemonic aspirations of Oromuma ideologues!
The silence, apathy, withdrawal or indifference of the majority decent and able Ethiopians at this critical juncture is anything but endorsement, by omission, of PM Abiy’s and his Oromuma extremists’ agenda of establishing hegemonic rule, and failing that, their aspiration to break Ethiopia into pieces, ensuring that it does not rise again. All Ethiopians from all corners of the country, from all ethnic and identity affiliation, from all political, religious, social, cultural institutions need to be mobilized and brought under one umbrella. Political parties, churches, mosques, labor unions, academic institutions, women’s and youth organizations, the Kebeles all are potential origination points for coalition builders. We should never underestimate the wisdom of most Ethiopians, urban and rural. Our people ae wise. Nothing proves this point more than the fact that it is only in Ethiopia, where successive sitting governments tirelessly work to foment endless divisions and conflict based on ethnicity, religion or such identities – and the people refuse to cut each other’s throats. The majority of Ethiopians are peaceful, respectful and natural coalition-builders that reach out to support each other in times of distress. It is the so-called elite (and the mob they mobilize) that are hostile to reaching out and building bridges and strengthening commonalities that bind us together. These bastardized elites need to be isolated and denied ground in their respective “ethnic” bases where they plant seeds of animosity and discord. We have to celebrate and rally around the gallant sons and daughters such as Obang Motheo from Gambella, others from Somalia and from Afar, Taye Bogale from Borana, Oromia, etc. who cherish our common Ethiopian heritage.
- Build International Pressure
Abiy and his Oromuma ideologues have much more respect and are responsive only to international pressure. They, time and again, have shown that they have little regard for their key constituent – the Ethiopian population at large. It is thus important to build international pressure insisting that the World Bank, IMF, and other Development Partners (EU, US, Australia, Canada, Japan) , follow their own operational rules and conventions, making any and all financial and development assistance to Abiy’s government conditional on his respecting the rule of law, abandoning unlawful and inhuman treatment of his people (e.g. forced mass eviction of the poor from Addis without any compensation and alternative relocation – violation of WB safeguard rules; imprisonment and disappearance of journalists and politicians who raise voices of opposition; selective, targeted blockade of the Amhara from entering Addis, etc.).
Fellow African countries such as Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria (who have already been helping Ethiopia to get out of the morass of internal tribal conflict engendered by Abiy) need to be approached to put pressure on Abiy. Themselves having created constitutional and legal preventive and resolution mechanisms to address the evils of apartheid and tribalism, these sisterly countries, more than anybody else, are sympathetic and responsive to the mortal danger Abiy and his Oromuma ideologues are bringing to Ethiopia.
International human rights organizations, relevant UN agencies need to be constantly updated about the abuses Ethiopians are going thru. China’s as well as the Emirate’s and Turkey’s uncritical support to and engagement with Abiy must be scrutinized and exposed, if not criticized.
- Prevent Diaspora remittance!
Diaspora remittance and investment is filling critical gaps of Ethiopia’s deficit. Abiy is increasingly relying on this source of funding. Studies show that diaspora remittance is now equaling, if not exceeding the country’s foreign exchange earnings from export. Diaspora remittance also exceeds donor assistance to Ethiopia. The diaspora community can unite and dry up this source of Abiy’s revenue by sending remittances to families through non-official channels, bypassing the government to the extent possible. For greater impact this needs to be coupled with minimizing, if not boycotting travel to Ethiopia…
- Lobby the US, EU
The war in Tigray has clearly demonstrated how far-reaching is US and EU role in Ethiopia’s domestic politics. US and EU law makers’ attention should not be left to Abiy’s hired lobbyists. Ethiopian diaspora need to be organized to leverage their resources, presence, networks, organizations and above all, their voting power and lobby key congressmen, senators and government officers. Equal effort should be expended to lobby EU law makers. The overall message should be based on researched evidence-based multi-media effective communication of the risk (to their geopolitical and geostrategic interests) the failure of Ethiopia overseen by Abiy entails. It must be clearly communicated that any further volatility of the strategic Horn of Africa (at the center of which is Ethiopia) due to the West’s missteps will be costly, contributing to their being in disadvantage in the ongoing superpower contestation in the region.
- Peaceful resistance, civil disobedience
Abiy’s and his Oromuma ideologues’ intimidation, violence, subversion needs to be resisted by any means, mainly thru peaceful resistance, organized and sustained civil disobedience across the country. Pretty much all regions of the country have witnessed the fact that Abiy has not been able to provide minimum security – the very basic reason justifying the existence of a government. His ineptitude has ruined the national economy. Big and small wars abound – generalized insecurity and instability have been the hallmarks of Abiy’s and his Oromuma ideologue’s five-year rule. Ethiopians are worse off and more miserable since Abiy came to power. It is time to say enough is enough with the little time left to save the country from total collapse.
Ethiopia is at a dangerous, tipping point! As it were, even in the best of times, Ethiopia, due to its strategic location, has always been vulnerable – vulnerable to climate shocks vulnerable to global economic downturns and shocks, and vulnerable to geopolitical shocks. What makes this period uniquely dangerous for Ethiopia is that this time, Ethiopia is headed by a government that is incompetent, lacking in goodwill and stupid – so stupid that it is incapable of seeing the obvious danger to its own very existence (even when counselled), much like a drunkard standing erect and proud, facing a train rushing to run over him. All patriotic Ethiopians, the diaspora included, need to put aside their differences, appreciate the eminent danger the country is facing, and act as individuals and groups – take part in any one or all the six action areas proposed here.
Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com
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