In a recent stirring address to the parliament, Prime Minister Abiy confidently proclaimed the immense power of his government, declaring that no opposition could undermine their authority. This bold assertion has not only sparked a wave of political discourse but also invites a reflection on the cyclical nature of power in history. The speech, rife with undertones of invincibility, resonates with a familiar echo from the past, a reminder of the often illusory nature of absolute power.
Prime Minister Abiy’s rhetoric, emphasizing the government’s unassailable position, mirrors a historical pattern observed in various forms of governance. This pattern is characterized by leaders perceiving their reign as impervious to challenge, often leading to a disconnect with the realities of their rule. The comparison to Mengistu Haile Mariam is particularly noteworthy. Like Mengistu, Abiy’s display of authority in the face of opposition is a stance that history has repeatedly shown to be fraught with overconfidence.
The annals of history are filled with examples of empires and leaders who believed in their eternal dominance, only to be proven otherwise. A classic case is the Roman Empire, which, despite its military prowess and expansive control, eventually succumbed to internal and external pressures. This historical lesson underscores a fundamental truth: the stability and longevity of power are not solely determined by military might or authoritarian control, but also by the undercurrents of societal dynamics and internal governance.
The Arab Spring is a more contemporary instance where seemingly indomitable regimes faced their downfall not at the hands of foreign powers, but through the collective voice and actions of their people. These movements highlighted a critical aspect often overlooked in the discourse of power – the undeniable force of a united populace. This realization places Prime Minister Abiy’s assertions in a different light, underscoring the potential vulnerability that comes with underestimating the power of the governed.
Moreover, the assertion of invincibility in governance often leads to a dangerous path of self-deception and alienation from the populace. The French Revolution stands as a stark testament to this fact, where the monarchy’s failure to acknowledge and address the grievances of the people led to its ultimate demise. This historical event serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing that the sustainability of power is intricately linked to the government’s responsiveness and connection to its citizens.
In essence, Prime Minister Abiy’s speech is a reflection of a broader narrative in the realm of politics, where leaders often misconstrue the extent of their power. The true measure of a government’s strength lies not in its ability to suppress opposition or flaunt its might, but in its capacity to engage constructively with its people and adapt to the evolving social and political landscape. History has repeatedly shown that those who embrace humility and maintain a genuine connection with their constituents are the ones who leave a lasting and positive legacy.
In that same recent address to the parliament, Prime Minister Abiy confidently proclaimed the immense power of his government, asserting unassailable authority over any opposition. However, what stands out in his speech is not just the bravado of power, but also a glaring omission – the ongoing conflict and the government’s contentious relationship with the Amhara people, particularly the Fano movement.
Abiy’s disregard for mentioning the strife involving the Amhara community and the Fano movement in his address speaks volumes. This omission can be interpreted in two ways: on one hand, it represents a stark indifference to a significant internal issue, and on the other, it appears to be a deliberate attempt to minimize the gravity of the situation by ignoring it. Such behavior raises serious concerns about the government’s approach to internal conflicts and its treatment of different ethnic groups within the country.
The situation is further complicated by reports of the national defense forces being directed against the Amhara people. These are the very forces that should be protecting the nation from external threats, yet there are alarming indications that their focus has shifted toward internal suppression. This shift is particularly disconcerting given the recent history of similar actions against the Tigrayans. The cyclical nature of these conflicts, shifting from one ethnic group to another, paints a troubling picture of the government’s strategy in dealing with internal dissent.
Moreover, the absence of a meaningful discussion about these issues in what Abiy refers to as his “echo chamber” parliament raises further doubts about the inclusivity and transparency of the government. The noticeable silence of the Amhara representatives in the parliament, many of whom are reportedly imprisoned, adds another layer of concern. Their absence and the apparent suppression of their voices are indicative of a broader issue of political repression and the muffling of dissenting voices. The government’s current approach, marked by a combination of overt displays of power and a selective silence on pressing issues, is a precarious path that risks further alienation and unrest.
The lessons from history underscore the importance of a government’s responsiveness to its people’s needs and the dangers of ignoring or suppressing internal dissent. The true test of a government’s strength lies in its ability to navigate these challenges with empathy, inclusivity, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of all its citizens. The situation with the Amhara community and the Fano movement is a poignant reminder of the complexities and responsibilities inherent in governance, and the need for a more holistic and inclusive approach.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Abiy’s parliamentary speech serves as a poignant reminder of the transient and often deceptive nature of power. The lessons from history illustrate that the real strength of a government lies in its alignment with the needs and aspirations of its people. Ignoring this fundamental truth can lead to a decline as rapid as the rise to power, a lesson that time and history have consistently validated.
(The author of this article can be contacted via email at Essulesanu@gmail.com)
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