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.
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