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HomeOpinionFanno’s Lack of Strategic Flexibility Can Lead to TPLF-OLA-Oromo-PP Coalition

Fanno’s Lack of Strategic Flexibility Can Lead to TPLF-OLA-Oromo-PP Coalition

Yonas _ Fano flexibility

Yonas Biru, PhD 

Prime Minister Abiy’s government made the worst mistake in the war with TPLF when it  entered Mekele in November 2020. At the time, the TPLF was militarily defeated and  politically deflated. There was no long-term political or military gain in entering Mekele other  than the Prime Minister’s bravado to wipe out TPLF leaders and secure a clean victory. The  mistake turned the law enforcement campaign into a full-blown civil war. The Prime  Minister’s affinity for a photo and video opportunity to show off his vanity projects led him  into threatening the war as a vanity project to capture and parade TPLF leaders in handcuffs.  

Days before the Ethiopian Defense Forces stormed Mekele, I warned of an impending  catastrophe such a decision will result in. I was subjected to an avalanche of hoots of  electronic disdain by boneheaded young cyber ninjas suffering from an adrenaline overdose  and hermitized old intellectuals who were (and still are) emotionally and psychologically  frozen in centuries long past.  

Fast forward to December 2022, the Prime Minister and TPLF were at a more-or-less the  same position as they were in November 2020. The government with a clear upper hand and  no military obstacle to enter Mekele decided not to venture into the city proper. Instead, it  forced TPLF to willfully sign terms of surrender. The terms of surrender that was up for the  taking in November 2020 was delayed by two years. The delay resulted in a national  catastrophe of biblical proportions. One million people lost their lives and the nation  suffered $28 billion (the equivalent of 25% of its GDP) in economic destruction. 

In 2023, Ethiopia is still the land of creation and perpetual political misery and the land of 13  months of sunshine trapped in eternal darkness to boot. Because of the Prime Minister’s  betrayal of the Amhara and Oromummaa’s zeal for a hegemonic rule and propensity for  savagery, Fanno has emerged with an overwhelming force.  

Those who are managing (or rather mismanaging) the political and PR side of Fanno need to  be reminded that overwhelming force does not necessarily lead to a clean victory. The story  of the Abiy government in Tigray, and US’s experience in Afghanistan and Iraq provide cruel  reminders.  

The purpose of this article is to ring a wakeup call to the same boneheaded young cyber  ninjas and old hermitized intellectuals. The two curses on Ethiopian politics need to be  reminded that a mismanaged Fanno movement can lead to a coalition between TPLF and  Oromo-PP or even worse a coalition between Oromo-PP, TPLF and OLA. 

Remember, in 2021, when TPLF was marching towards Addis Ababa, TPLF and OLA were  working together to overthrow the Abiy administration. OLA was assured it will administer  the Oromo tribal land and form a coalition to govern Ethiopia.  

The OLA-TPLF and Oromo-PP coalition is a plausible or even a sought-after strategy for the  TPLF, and OLA for many reasons. TPLF sees such a coalition as the best-case scenario to  weaken the Amhara and reclaim Wolkait and Raya. For the OLA it is a dream come true to  close the chapter on the Ethiopian unity agenda. In addition, both the OLA and TPLF see it as  an opportunity to weaken Oromo-PP and the Prime Minister. The scenario may not be the  best outcome for Oromo-PP, but the Prime Minister’s lust for power and lack of integrity and  principle will no doubt lead him to embrace it as an option of last resort.  

If Fanno fails to realize this, its historic contribution to Ethiopian politics will be strengthening  OLA and TPLF and dashing Amhara’s last hope for political revival. The OLA-Oromo-PP and  TPLF coalition may not defeat the popular uprising in the Amhara tribal land but can lead  into a civil war that can tilt the balance in favor of its adversaries.  

Part of a robust political strategy is to break apart your adversaries, not to unite them against  you. The young fools with their adrenalin oozing out of their noses and ears and their  hermitized old intellectuals with a downward sloping learning curve do not get this. Those  who fail to understand this perish by it.  

The other problem with the Amhara sentiment is that it sees the international community as  the enemy of Ethiopia and Amhara. No amount of logic will change this sentiment. It is  backed into the Amhara social psychology and ingrained in its political DNA.  

Yesteryear, the argument was that the international community wanted the TPLF to assume  power because the Prime Minister was not submissive enough to the West. Just to make sure  that this is the same Prime Minister who declared his allegiance to die for America on the  New York Post, no less.  

Today, the talk is about how the international community wants the Prime Minister to Stay  in power so he can serve the TPLF. This is just utterly stupid that the አቱቶ ቡቱቶ hermitized  intellectual class cannot be saved from. Because of it the አቱቶ ቡቱቶ hermitized intellectual  class and the adrenalin overdosed cacophonous activists are undermining if not sabotaging  the Fanno movement that was a gift from the butchery and savagery of Oromo-PP and its  ideological Godfather – Oromummaa. 

A Path for a Transformative Change 

There is a tension between two conflicting end-goals facing Fanno. First, Fanno’s interest for  a clean victory to topple the Oromo-led government should not come at the risk of a civil war. Second, a fear of a potential civil war should not mean allowing the current status quo  to continue without a transformative change.  

The question that is imposing itself on us is: How do we delicately balance this tension? The  need to avoid a civil war requires it, and the nation’s political transformation depends on it. 

What Ethiopia needs at this juncture is cooler minds to prevail. Political junkies on both sides  of the warring parties need to be crowded out. The Fanno movement that has organically  and spontaneously erupted must not be hijacked by intellectual dwarfs with transcontinental  ego.  

A broad-based political support group with a brilliant, seasoned, and adoptive nucleus must  be formed. Sorry, say what you may, rant if you must, but your Shaleka, your Esku the Great  or your cacophonous part deacon and part diabolical Ethio-360 looneys will not cut it.  

A First Critical Step 

The first critical task before us is not babysitting, swaddling, and soothing grownup fools to  understand basic politics. They are playing with the lives of millions. They need a candid talk. 

The first critical step is forming a broad-based Amhara coalition that consists of all political  persuasions and views, of course including all Amhara forces without preconditions. This is  critical to bring the silent majority out in mass to support the Fanno Movement. Unity is  power and power is the energy and guarantee for success. Fanno’s primary strength must  come neither from the barrel of its gun nor the cacophonous extremist activists, but from  the thunderous voices of the silent majority.  

Fanno leaders must understand the people of Amhara seek peace and stability as much as  they long for freedom from Oromo-PP and protection from Oromummaa savagery. Unity  among various political voices in the Amhara tribal home will take Fanno a long way to win  the confidence and support of the silent majority. Success on this front will send a loud and  clear message both to the government and the international community.  

Winning International Support 

Winning the confidence and support of geopolitical forces is critical. In the best-case  scenario, the Fanno movement can leverage their support to pressure the government. In  the worst-case scenario, it can push back against the government’s and TPLF’s efforts to  leverage the international community’s support. 

The Fanno movement must present itself as a transformative and stabilizing force, not as a  disruptive and destabilizing movement. In this regard, having a political agenda with a 

concomitant strategy and robust international PR narrative is critical. Every government  press release needs to be responded to. The government’s propaganda narrative needs to  be refuted and rejected. The international public needs to be regularly briefed. 

It is important to understand the government is under enormous international pressure to  make concessions and reconcile with opposition forces. The IMF and Paris Club are  withholding international aid (concessional loans and debt relief) to pressure the  government for a peaceful political process. There is no reason why Fanno should not  leverage the international community.  

A robust and powerful PR will paint a reckless and incompetent Prime Minister in technicolor,  highlighting the following: 

• He promised victory against the TPLF in two. He ended up mismanaging the  war for two years, leading to a humanitarian crisis and economic disaster.  

• He established a command center to administer the Tigray tribal land only to  abandon it and retreat in haste and humiliation. 

• He established a command center in parts of the Oromo tribal land with  nothing to show for it other than millions of people forcefully displaced and  thousands murdered. One of the booming economic activities in the Oromo  tribal land is kidnapping truck-drivers and business owners for ransom and  abducting young girls as sex slaves for OLA officers. 

• The Prime Minister’s solution for every and all political crises of his own  making is sending troops, establishing command centers, and ultimately  abandoning them in a haste. The cycle continues as Ethiopia slips into a political  and economic abyss.  

Fanno Must Present Itself as a Reasonable & Flexible Driver of Change 

I must repeat that Fanno must present itself as a stabilizing force not as a disruptive and  destabilizing movement. It must make it clear that a civil war must be avoided, and the  demand for a transformative change must be achieved.  

The risk of a potential civil war must be associated with the government’s intransigence and  refusal for a transformative change, not with Fanno’s uncompromising drive for a  government change. Success on this front can push the Fanno movement to the next level,  without any discernible loss or weakening of its momentum. 

Fanno must not repeat the Prime Minister’s mistake in November 2020. The PM is in a very  weak position. Fanno enjoys a position of power. Know when to collect your marbles and gear up for the next summit. The six demands proposed below can result in a transformative  change for several reasons.  

First, they provide a minimum common denominator to build a broad-based  Amhara coalition.  

Second, Fanno’s flexibility and prudence to avoid civil war will help it to  consolidate and expand its support base in the Amhara tribal land.  

Third, Fanno’s flexible and open agenda will buy it the confidence and support  of opposition forces in other tribal lands.  

Fourth, Fanno will become the energy and the center of gravity for a national  movement against the Oromo-PP led government and Oromummaa’s  hegemonic agenda and political savagery.  

Fifth, the transformative changes in demand are within the constitutional  order. This disarms the government from painting Fanno as a meta  constitutional force. 

The proposed demands below may not result in the removal of the Prime Minister from  office, but they will weaken him and avoid a potential civil war. It will also avoid a destructive  coalition of Oromo-PP, OLA, and TPLF from forming. Fanno can build on the gains it achieved  as long as it remains armed and peaceful.  

1. Immediate withdrawal of all National Defense Forces from the Amhara tribal land  and suspension of the disarmament program until confidence building measures  are taken and the existential threat against Amhara is removed.  

2. Maintain the Welkait and Raya current status quo and suspend any plan to transfer  the contested lands from Amhara to Federal government administration. This issue  must be the last item on the tribal homeland’s political agenda. First must come  security, peace, and stability. 

3. Immediate action to organize national and international humanitarian support for  forcefully displaced Amhara people. 

4. An international investigation of mass killings and mass evictions of the people of  Amhara. The investigation must be unfettered and time bound – no more than six  months followed by full accountability based on the findings of investigation. The  government has agreed to engage the international community to resolve its  conflict with Tigray and Oromo forces. From the Fanno perspective international  investigation must be a matter of urgency without relinquishing the opportunity for  a formal mediation outside of Ethiopia.

5. A vote of confidence for the Amhara Prosperity Party-led government in the Amhara  tribal land within three months. The aim is either to establish confidence in the  Amhara-PP leadership or recall them followed by new elections if the recall through  constitutional means leads to removal from office of Amhara-PP leaders. This may  be done in other tribal lands as well if there is demand for it by the people of  respective regions. The recall process must be monitored by international  organizations. 

6. Vote of confidence for the Oromo-PP led government in the Ethiopian Parliament.  This must be held after a vote of confidence in the Amhara tribal land and other  tribal lands (if the people in the other tribal lands so choose). This opens the door to  replace the Prime Minister if the majority Parliamentarians so choose. 

If met, these demands will position Fanno in an assailable position with the silent majority  serving as its guard. If the demands are not met, it will gain the PR upper hand and its  continued struggle will win more support from the Amhara and other tribal homelands. At  some point the Oromo silent majority will rise to join its counterparts in other tribal lands.  Reasonable Oromo-PP forces will switch side rather than sink with Abiy. There are many  ways to skin a cat. Fanno need to be fixated on government change.  

Time is of the essence. Ethiopians at home and in the diaspora must take part to achieve a  transitional political change without the risk of a civil war. They should not be afraid to tell  the organic fools in their ranks to: “Sit down and shut the fucking hell up.” It is not hard. 

ካጠፋሁ ይቅርታ

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com  

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4 COMMENTS

  1. What does even mean “intellectual dwarf” and what is the point of insulting someone who is trying to do his part to overcome the challenge that Ethiopia is facing? do you have a capability to do what he did?

    On what moral ground do you spit to insult Eskinder? What is your contribution for the struggle in Ethiopia ? Yes you worked for the World Bank if the means anything? Who gets to work in the world bank in the first place? The genius?

    Making appearance in many Ethiopian cyber media is not a sign that you are an influencer. FANO is organic but you are genetically modified and you can’t influence them.

    “Accademia is for Knowledge What prostitutes is for love” – that is who you are! Idiot.

  2. If the PM thinks that starting a new war with Fanno will end like the one with the TPLF, he needs to think twice. He will be dealing first of all with a group of fighters that has given great pride to the Amhara people, and thus very popular with Amhara people and all those who oppose PP. Fanno will not go down, if it ever will, without a devastating war. The PM’s objective to simply disarm Fanno and the Amhara region while leaving Tigray armed under the excuse of the Pretoria agreement, it would be a recipe for a civil war. Disarmament of regions, a notion contrary to the very words of the Constitution, is not an option for the Amhara. If the parliament itself declares total disarmament of Ethiopians, then it has to be done simultaneously all over the country. This obviously is an impossible proposition .Who is the PM fooling disarming Fanno unilaterally? On the other hand, not only Fanno needs a unifying organization to be effective, but it really needs a clear unifying political program. Is its objective to defend Amhara region alone? Does it aim to unify Ethiopia under the banner of Ethiopiawinet? Does it plan to become a party? After mismanaging the end of the Tigray war, only a fool can be optimistic about the end of this new debacle between Fanno and the Federal government. Yet, this is the only opportunity PM Abiy has to not let himself be suckered into an unholy alliance, which can only lead to the disintegration of Ethiopia.

  3. I admire your prolific writing.
    However, I cannot help but wonder why you and the PM are dead against Eskinder. To me, he is a principled, self-effacing person who is ready to die for what he believes in.
    If you think the uncharitable remarks you make about him and the rest of Ethiopian intelligentsia enhances the points you are making, you are mistaken. Rather, it makes you look like a contrarian.

  4. እጅግ ድንቅ commentary ነው! ከድል በኋላ የፋኖ ሐይል ተጨማሪ ሃሳብ አክሎበት Road map and plan of action አድርጎ ሊጠቀምበት ይችላል!!! ድል ለፋኖ! ድል ለመላው ጭቁን የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ!

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