By Endalkachew Abebe Kebede
In the midst of the third week of the conflict between Abiy’s administration and the Amhara people, it is evident that Abiy’s attempts to quell his political turmoil through coercive actions have not yielded the desired results. The Amhara population has reached a tipping point, acknowledging that meaningful transformation will not arise from Abiy’s rule. Confronted with the choice of either passive submission to violence or active resistance against the authoritarian regime, the Amhara community has opted for the latter, engaging in a three-week-long and ongoing struggle against government forces.
Similar to historical dictators, Abiy seems indifferent to the well-being of his own citizens, focusing instead on retaining his grip on power. It is increasingly apparent that he may be grappling with a significant mental health issue. In more developed nations, such behavior might lead to his confinement in a medical facility rather than maintaining his position of authority. However, this is Africa, and specifically Ethiopia, where the populace lacks agency in selecting their leaders.
Contrary to his initial image as a positive force for the country during his early months in power, Abiy’s true nature has emerged as the nation faces escalating political, economic, and social disarray under his leadership. Comparable to infamous figures like Idi Amin Dada, Joseph Stalin, and Hitler, Abiy’s character raises concerns, particularly due to his unwavering commitment to maintaining power. Of particular distress is his identity as an Oromo nationalist, harboring a profound animosity towards the Amhara people.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has influenced Abiy’s perspective for nearly three decades, perpetuating a harmful narrative of animosity and groundless hatred towards the Amhara people. This antagonistic portrayal unfairly paints them as oppressors and unjustly assigns them blame for historical missteps. Abiy’s behavior aligns with that of the TPLF leaders, if not worse, as he intensifies his efforts to erase Amhara’s history and identity.
One striking example of this is his campaign to reconstruct Addis Ababa, the capital city while obliterating its historical landmarks. Abiy’s aversion to King Menilek II, the city’s founder, has motivated his efforts to reshape the cityscape, effectively erasing the legacy of past rulers. Moreover, he is orchestrating population demographic shifts by forcibly demolishing residences owned by Amhara individuals in and around the capital. Utilizing his party’s dominance, the Oromo Prosperity Party (OPP), Abiy has concentrated power within decision-making processes and the military. The hegemony of a single political faction within an ethnically structured nation has marginalized the Amhara populace.
Under Abiy’s administration, the Amhara community has faced significant hurdles in terms of mobility, settlement, and productivity. The deliberate economic sabotage targeting the Amhara people is evident, particularly through the OPP’s actions, culminating in an alarming escalation of violence against them within the Oromia region. Over the past five years, Ethiopia as a whole has witnessed an increase in targeted attacks on the Amhara community.
Despite the relentless pleas of the Amhara people for an end to the genocide and the addressing of political grievances, Abiy appears callous, even mocking their pain and suffering. Furthermore, the arbitrary arrest of Amhara individuals, including some parliamentary members, has been marred by insults based on their Amhara identity. The Amhara people have been left with no option but to confront the dictatorial regime.
Abiy’s administration has encountered defeat in both political and military arenas. Former allies who held key positions within his administration have turned against him in support of their own people. The global community is now fully aware of the situation, comprehending the motives behind the Amhara resistance and the true nature of Abiy’s regime. Notably, incidents such as the drone strikes in Finoteselam and Debrebihan have garnered significant international attention.
Although Abiy’s administration attempts to delegitimize the Amhara movement by labeling it as mere robbery, the well-coordinated and disciplined actions of the FANO fighters defy such characterization. The international community is attuned to the ongoing events. Abiy’s relentless pursuit of dismantling Ethiopia and executing the genocide of the Amhara community has not gone unnoticed.
While state-controlled media propagates genocidal rhetoric and victory proclamations, independent reports reveal the fragility of Abiy’s military position. The Fano, utilizing guerrilla tactics and other strategies, have posed unexpected challenges, resulting in casualties among military personnel and leadership. Considering Abiy’s failures in both political and military contexts, it’s a familiar pattern for dictators to shift blame onto civilians and resort to violent measures. Drone attacks, artillery bombardments targeting multiple cities within the Amhara regions, and reports of thousands of civilian casualties underscore Abiy’s desperation to cling to power even at any cost.
What lies ahead for Abiy is a regime in its final stages. The international community advocates for a peaceful resolution and prioritizes the safety of civilians. With inflation soaring and the economy faltering under his governance, and given the substantial advancements of the Amhara fighters, Abiy’s options are limited. He may comply with Amhara’s demands, as he did with the TPLF leaders in the Pretoria agreement, potentially leading to a peace accord alongside Amhara forces. Alternatively, he could embrace a full dictatorship akin to Kim Jong Un and sever ties with the Western world, a possibility exacerbated by his apparent mental instability.
Regardless of the outcome, Abiy’s prolonged stay in power poses a grave risk to Ethiopia’s unity and stability. A strategic reform and regime change are imperative for the nation’s long-term well-being. Ethiopians abroad must continue their demonstrations and campaigns against Abiy’s actions, engaging in well-organized lobbying and informing Western leaders to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the situation and the necessity for a sustainable solution.
At this juncture, a significant moment in Ethiopian history is unfolding. The Amhara community, echoing the ethos of its resilient past, is declaring, “enough is enough.” The campaign of economic sabotage, genocidal acts, and blame-shifting is no longer tolerable. Historically known for their bravery, the Amhara people stood against Italian colonialism, repelling European forces and securing their place among heroic Africans. Recent days have showcased the unwavering resolve of the Amhara people, possibly heralding an era of rejuvenation and hope as they strive to overthrow the dictatorial regime.
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