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The Passive Aggressive Amhara Politics Explains Why Amhara Lacks A National Agenda (Yonas Biru)

Yonas Biru on Amhara politics
Yonas Biru during an interview with Anchor Media (Photo : Screenshot from Anchor Media video)

Yonas Biru (PhD) 

For 30 years, Amhara has suffered unprecedented systemic injustice. Yet it has failed to produce opinion leaders. Whether we like it or not, Oromo and Tigray have opinion leaders. Each has a clearly articulated national agenda for Ethiopia.

The question is: Why have Amhara intellectuals, scholars and political elite failed to develop a national agenda for Ethiopia? We know the Oromo perspective that is currently imploding in a rather spectacular fashion.

We also know what the Tigray perspective was, until it collapsed under the weight of its self-destructive agenda. One thing is clear. They both have/had political agenda, strategy, and roadmap.

The truth is that Amhara is driven by a unitarist agenda. In the meantime, Amhara intellectuals, scholars and political elites are well aware that championing a unitarist agenda is an uphill battle. Consequently, the Amhara agenda has become anti-ethnic federalist without providing an alternative agenda, strategy, and roadmap. This is cowardly.

Amhara does not have an organized party pushing for a unitarist agenda. What it has is more of an off-grid and high-bandwidth network of activists who aim to dial back the time to when the Amhara played a dominant role in state politics.

The network’s ideological doctrine coalesces around Amhara nationalism at its nucleus from whence a unitary mindset radiates outward and expresses itself as a national identity. The network has neither a written manifesto nor an organizational platform. But it has a network of intellectuals of known quantity. You have heard Shaleka Wolde-ማነው ስሙ who said “ኢትዮጵያ የሚያስፈልጋት አማራ አማራ የሚሸት መንግስት ነው::” You have also heard Eskender Gebre-ማን ይሉታል who often talks about “አባቶቻችን.” We cannot go forward in a reverse gear.

They push a passive-aggressive strategy to take the Ethiopian political center stage, using grievance politics both as the power cylinder and transmission belt of its political machinery.

Its grievance politics has undercut the Amhara historical political wisdom that relies on the art of diplomatic flexibility to transcend differences and build consensus. Gone are the days of Amhara subtle and strategic power play and coalition forming. The network’s mantra-like response to legitimate criticisms about its lack of strategy in coalition building and organizing a political power base is: “Why are we maligned for protesting against Amhara genocide.”

Crying “genocide” as a daily staple of a political campaign has done nothing for the defenseless Amhara in the Oromo tribal land. We are at a point where the Fanno movement has shattered the Oromo and Tigray agendas.

The next question is what is the agenda for Ethiopia. So far, there is no agenda. Have some morals. Have some integrity. Lead, follow or get out of the way. Crying will not be a substitute for lack of strategy.

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


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  1. A simple critical analysis based on global experience! Not to be expected that many in the Amhara Elite group will make noises; BUT important to swallow the BITTER PIL and review LESSONS LEARNT & Revise the reverse gear attempts. Unfortunately some who have been in politics for 3 generations ( ala ሻለቃ) do more harm than leading the Amhara struggle forward! Including members of the defunct Imperial past is foolish.

    I disagree with Dr Yonas’s economic neocolonial slavery; BUT his analysis RE Amhara political struggle is the most pragmatic.

    ስሙ ስሙ ላልሰሙ አሰሙ የአማራ ልሂቃን/ አንቂዎች/ አርቲስቶች/ ዩ ቱበሮች/ ጋዜጠኞች:: ወዳጅ ማብዛት እንጂ ሁሉንም ሰድቦ ጠላት( ለምሥኪኑ አማራ ገበሬ/ ሠርቶ አደር) ማራባት ጥቅሙ ምን ድን ነው::??

    ችግሮች አሉ::

    ተነጋግሮ ጦርነቱን ቶሎ ማስቆም:: አሁን የሚደግፈውም ህዝብ እኮ ትእግስቱ ያበቃል:: ፈረንጅ ሀገር hot dog እየገመጡ go fund me እየለመኑ what’s up እያሉ( የብዙሃኑ አበሻ እንግሊዝኛ መጠን) በየ መጠጥ ቤቱ መፎከር ና ጦር ሜዳ መሃል መኖር ለየቅል ነውና!!!

  2. This guy says “Amhara is driven by a unitarist agenda”? Really? Are you sure? OMG. “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” well said! I think the writer himself is one of the people who should get out of the way! As an elite he is expected to come up with a proposal, but as usual even at this critical time, he comes up with the usual critics!

  3. እኔ እንደ ዚጋ ሃስብ መስጠት ከፈቀዳችሁልኝ ሃሳቤን ላስቀምጥ። ይህ ሰው ዶ/ር ዮናስ፣ ወቀሳላይ በጣም ጎበዝ ነው። በተለይ የአማራ ህዝብ እንቅስቃሴ ላይ ስተቶችን ለማጉላት የሚቀድመው የለም። አማራው ፖለቲከኛ አላወጣም ይልሃል። በዚህ ረገድ ግን ምን እየተደረበት ስለሆነ ነው? ስንት ፖለቲከኞች ተገለዋል? ታስረዋል? በዉጭ ሃገር ዩኒቨርሲቲዎች ያሉ የአማራ ሙህራን በአማራ ጉዳይ በሚያነሱት ሃሳብ ምን ይደረጉ ነበር? የሚሉትን ማንሳትም መጠየቅም አይፈልግም።
    የአባቶቻችን ታሪክ ለምን ይነሳል? ይልሃል። ግልጽ ነው የአባቶችንና የትውልድን መልካም ታሪክ ለአሁኑ ትውልድ ማስረዳ ምን ያክል ሃገር ሊገነባ እንደሚችል ያቀዋል ግን ለምን አባቶቻችን ይባላል ይልሃል። በማሸማቀቅ፣ ከኔ በላይ የሚያቅ የለም በማለት፣ የፋኖን ትግል በሆነ ምስለኔ ቅርቃር ዉስጥ ለማስገባት፣ መስሎ በመቅረብ ….. የሆን ማስፈጸም የፈልገው የሆን አካል የፖለቲካ ውክልና አለ። በጣም በጣም ብዙ ነገሮችን ስለ ሰውየው ማለት ይቻላል። የአማራ ትግል ግን በራሱ በተገፉ፤ በተሳደዱ ልጆቹ ትግል አሸናፊ ይሆናል።
    Meኩ ከባህር ዳር

  4. Dear Obbo Yonas Biru, PhD,

    I am not writing this comment not to criticize your article but to urge you not to be discouraged by detractors. Apparently they are war mongers with no sensible agenda and they do that from their comfy homes here among us and thousands of miles away where the gullible youth is being marched to an awaiting inferno. They send their children and grandchildren to schools here but they incite/urge others by feeding on the raw emotion of the hapless unemployed youth. They don’t stop at just inflaming the situation in Amhara and Oromo regions, but they use that to line their pockets thru fund raisers and subscriptions. They have enriched themselves beyond their wildest dreams. Just ignore them and keep writing. Please do not respond to them directly because that will be like putting silk on a pig. In doing so, please never use terms such as ‘Oromummaa’ and Neftegna’ or ‘Woyane’ as pejoratives in your writings and live presentations. Such misuse of existing terms would not help further the accord for those upright and peace/stability starved people we all left behind.

  5. Please give it time wait and see the agenda for ethiopia. The struggle is still happing. Nothing will deflect the struggle of America. I mean it nothing.


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