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Ethiopia Under a Government Failing Its Bare Minimum

Abiy Ahmed _ Ethiopian News
Abiy Ahmed during the first congress of his Prosperity Party (Photo : file/PD)

By Selome Esayas

A vital question hangs over Ethiopia today – what is the bare minimum a government must provide to retain power and legitimacy? Fundamentally, an administration survives only as long as it meets the basic safety, economic, legal and political needs of its people. By many accounts, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s leadership falls dangerously short of this minimum threshold, fueling a profound crisis of authority in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Without core public services, no regime can stand long. This lesson seems lost on the Abiy government, which critics say has ignored Ethiopians’ fundamental requirements for survival amid its “ambitious” reform agenda. Public discontent simmers over the leadership’s disconnect from and inaction on pressing security, welfare, justice and rights issues. After initial optimism, Abiy now faces a population that sees its most basic needs unmet while his control over the state strengthens. 

Foremost, Ethiopians demand basic safety and freedom from violence. But under Abiy, many point to an epidemic of conflict that directly harms civilians while doing little to advance their interests. Armed struggles have engulfed the Tigray, Oromia and Amhara and other regions in recent years, displacing millions and claiming the lives of many. The Abiy administration stands for temporary political gains through these clashes, even as the public pays in blood and trauma. A government that cannot shield innocent citizens from the blowback of its dangerous games with rivals has failed at its most elemental duty.

Compounding security breakdowns, the state also gets low marks on providing economic basics for survival. Despite Abiy’s lofty pledges, endemic poverty, hunger, homelessness and unemployment grind down much of the population daily. The government’s inability to guarantee access to food, shelter, healthcare and livelihoods, critics say, proves its disconnect from Ethiopians’ fundamental welfare. Survival, not advancement, remains the public’s humble aspiration, an aspiration unmet by the current leadership.

Additionally, ineffective rule of law under Abiy has damaged trust in the government’s basic competent functioning. Unchecked crimes, corruption and rights violations reflect the regime’s failure to ensure a fair, accountable justice system. As faith in such core state services erodes, unrest and instability fill the void.

Finally, the administration is backsliding into authoritarianism – jailing critics, silencing journalists and banning opposition groups. Such repression contradicts the democratic openness Abiy originally espoused. When a government cannot tolerate dissent and opposition, it loses claim to legitimate rule. Ethiopia’s diversity demands an inclusive political arena.

In conclusion, providing security, meeting economic needs, upholding justice and allowing open debate represent the bare minimum expected of any leadership. But a growing chorus alleges Abiy’s government falls short on all counts as violence spreads, deprivation continues, legal breakdown expands, and autocracy rises. To move forward, Ethiopia’s governance must return to addressing the population’s fundamental requirements for safety and survival rather than pursuing narrow political goals. Only by returning to basics can Abiy regain credibility and steer the nation away from the crisis. The bare minimum provides the sole path if not for prosperity at least for stability in Ethiopia today.

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


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  1. I was empressed by your previous balanced articles that tried to address the Ethiopian state conundrum but reading this article I find it lacking in substance and shallow. You are stating the obvious with no depth .

    You seem forget the complexicities of the issues that prime minister faced. The political divisions of groups within the federal government, regional goverments(kilills) which are almostself governing atleast in principle, all the problems in wellega and tigrai unless you think Abiy created them, one needs to take into account all things to reach a reasonable jugdement.

    It is only five years and a lot has been done unless you just ignore all the changes that took place. Also couvid , Tigrai war contributed to economic hardship.

    I am disappointed. I expectef more.


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