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HomeOpinionAs the Fanno Uprising Nears a Tipping Point Abiy is Gearing Up...

As the Fanno Uprising Nears a Tipping Point Abiy is Gearing Up for a Civil War 

Ethiopia _ Yonas Biru
Yonas Biru

Yonas Biru, PhD 

Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the critically acclaimed book “The Tipping Point” defines  the title of his book as “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses  a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” The phenomenon is also known as a critical  mass or a percolation point. 

According to Gladwell, three phenomena determine the tipping point for a product, idea, or  social phenomenon such as a protest uprising: The right people, the right time, and the right  environment. He refers to them as “law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of  context.” 

Timing (the stickiness factor) and environment (the power of context) need no explanation. Let us look at what Gladwell meant by the right people (law of the few). There are three kinds  of people who fit his description: mavens (influencers with an established repute),  connectors (networkers) and salesmen (PR people with skills of persuasion). 

From the Fanno uprising perspective two of the three factors are met. The timing and the environment are ripe for a tipping point. What is missing is the right leadership architecture. 

It was to fill this gap that I prepared “The Fanno Manifesto” on August 14. Two weeks later, I  prepared a follow up document for AEPAC titled “The Amhara-Oromo-Tigray Conflict Nexus  in Ethiopia: Challenges, Opportunities and a Way Forward.” 

The purpose of the two documents was to fill three critical gaps in the Fanno uprising to: 

Establish a Leadership Architecture: Present Fanno as a stabilizing  force with a unified agenda, along with a robust strategy, adoptable  roadmap, a reasonable end goal and a dynamic leader. 

Throw Fanno’s Net Wider: Forge consensus not only within the Amhara  tribal land but also with local stakeholders in all tribal homelands. 

Build a Robust PR Ecosystem: Engage local and international actors to  address their concerns, earn their confidence and win their support. 

The proposal emphasized that filling these gaps are critical to: (a) avoid conflict within the  various independent Fanno brigades and their support ecosystem at home and abroad, and  (b) organize a broad support group and develop a robust strategy and effective campaign to  bring other tribal lands on the Fanno bandwagon and influence international policies.

At first, the reaction from some of the Amhara diaspora intellectual class was negative. Soon  enough the salient points I raised on the above-noted documents grew on them. Similar  views have started to emerge from the diaspora Amhara community. 

One example is a document titled “The Diaspora Unity” – coauthored by Professor Demissie  Alemayehu, Dr. Brehanemesqel Nega, Professor Alemante Gebre-Selassie, Major Ayalesew  Dessie, Deacon Habtamu Ayalew (ምላስ), Artist Abebe Belew, Dr. Gebeyehu Ejigu, and Artist  Shimelis Abera (ጆሮ). 

This is a step in the right direction. Here are the highlights of their document. 

Their call for unity, even though a bit tardy, is critical to facilitate the formation of a robust  leadership architecture. If successful, a leadership architecture with the right people will fill  a critical gap in the Fanno movement without which the risk of a civil war will increase.

Abiy is Gearing up for a Civil War 

The danger with the current situation is that a tipping point can happen before a national  leadership architecture is formed. This is how it is likely to happen. As Fanno gains more  grounds in cities large and small, and as the boy king continues to block Amhara people from  entering Addis Ababa, the Amhara militia and special force who are part of the Amhara  government defense structure will shift their allegiance to Fanno. That will be a point of  percolation and a threshold for a critical mass. 

The boy king is preparing for this eventuality. People routinely provide Koki Abesolome up to-date information from different parts of Ethiopia. One person DMed her the following: 

Koki has confirmed this from two other sources. Her sources seem to be credible, and the  story is consistent with the behavior of the boy king. Remember he is socially psychopathic  and politically sociopathic. 

A psychopath may suffer from emotional deficits, a lack of remorse and shame, but in most  cases, he is controlled, manipulative and charming. It suits him well in a social environment.  In contrast, a sociopath manifests traits of impulsivity and violence. He is easily rattled and  prone to anxiety and unable to control his rage. He becomes dangerous as the walls around  him close in and begin to collapse. Friends of mine and foes of mine alike, this is where we  are. Do not underestimate his psychopathic and sociopathic traits. 

What Needs to be Done 

I have written enough over the last two years on what needs to be done. First and foremost,  the Amhara intellectuals at home and in the diaspora need to be liberated from their  hermitized mindset. There is some inkling of a muted hope that this is slowly happening. The  above noted call for the Diaspora Unity by the Habtamu Ayalew’s (ምላስ) and Shimelis Abera’s 

(ጆሮ) group inspires some level of confidence, albeit a somewhat tentative and constrained  one. 

Here are the Urgent Matters that Need to be Addressed Head-on 

Rant if you must until your face turns purplish blue, but Eskinder and Major Dawit do not  have what it takes to lead the Fanno movement. The Worst thing will happen if Major Dawit  succeeds in his hijacking attempt. Say what you may and beat your heart out if you must, the  Major Shene-Amhara. Ethiopia does not want to replace Shene-Oromo by Shene-Amhara.  The Fanno movement is too complex and way too dynamic for the Esku-Dawi duo to  comprehend, much less to lead. 

For detailed presentation of what needs to be done please read “the Fanno Manifesto”; “The  Amhara-Oromo-Tigray Conflict Nexus in Ethiopia: Challenges, Opportunities and a Way  Forward”; and “Abiy Ahmed’s American Espionage Debacle and Its Implications for  Fanno.” They are a Google search away. 

If you want a loose translation of the first two documents, read the above noted call for “The  Diaspora Unity” by Habtamu Ayalew’s (ምላስ) and Shimelis Abera’s (ጆሮ) group. It is written in  Amharic. The gist of their document mirrors the salient points of my “Fanno Manifesto”  proposal and its sequel. 

ካጠፋሁ ይቅርታ. As they say, to err is human, to forgive is divine.

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


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  1. ThebEritrean trained and armed Amhara forces are inflicting big losses on the Oromo dominated government forces as the military situation on the ground shows. The Abiy government survived the Tigray war because of the intervention of the regional power Eritrea. Now facing imminent defeats and loss of power, he has turned to the other regional power Tigray apppealing for military hjelp to defeat the Amhara forces. Oromia is the gift of Tigray to the oromo people and there is good will in Tigray to defend and secure it. .


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