Monday, December 4, 2023
HomeOpinionThe Illusion of Invincibility: A Reflection on Prime Minister Abiy's Parliamentary Speech

The Illusion of Invincibility: A Reflection on Prime Minister Abiy’s Parliamentary Speech

Ethiopian PM during his latest appearance at Ethiopian Parliament (Photo : screenshot from EBC video)

(Essayias Lesanu)

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)

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

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The historical contexts mentioned in the article all the way back from the Roman Empire to the Arab spring are very fitting, except the very recent public discontent & revolt that propelled the an unknown Abiy Ahmed Ali to the very power he currently occupies was omitted. I am sure even he himself has forgotten how it was in 2018, and how he got here, it seems.

    The same kids that propelled him to power are the once Abiy sent the army to kill in Amhara region, while ignoring Sudan’s annexation of Ethiopian territory since 2020.
    Reversed priority for the “leader” as well as the Army playing police role on one hand and Negotiator with OLF-shene on the other, ignoring the aot taken to protect & defend the territory & peoples of Ethiopia.

    In the final analysis, there is fear, and that is why Abiy chose to talk about his invincibility in parliament which was not necessary in the normal parliamentary proceedings, but fear and the need to appear to ignore it brought about such expression to the for front, it is unfortunate.

    General observation shows:

    Abiy Ahmed as becoming more and more the future Ethiopia’s “Idi Amin” destined to UAE.
    If not Haile Selassie, Mengistu H. M. was believed to be more ‘secured’ with unified population… than anyone since, with a divided and unstable, ethnically fragmented society.

    In his 2019 interview with a US journalist ( published on NYT, or WaPo ) whom Abiy hosted at Hilton hotel, and personally Chauffeured around in Addis…,             

    Abiy stated to the journalist:
    (1) he is known to NSA ( US national security agency), indicating his contact with the agency during his stint at Ethiopian spy agency, ( perhaps as a “double agent”), he also mentioned in his Parliament speech, during his early days as PM, that he sent his family to the US  for their safety.. (how? as refugees? or via his contact in NSA? (CIA used to do that in the time of the Mengistu rule ( perhaps even earlier) , extracting its recruits in the Air force & the military for “medical reason”…Air force used to have a lot of US Air force officers (CIA) living in Debre Zeit …)  ) 

    (2) he said, Arming US personnel costs a lot, but we can be US’s right hand in the region for a fraction of that cost… (translation, do not look to regime-change me, I can be useful to the US). 
    Yet later in 2021-2022 war at one of his parliament talk (during the war in Tigray) said we can fight them (US Army) and win, we are known to defeat invaders… now we have hundreds of millions young force we can arm in a short order and ready to fight…

    All indications are now that, he is positioning himself to be like the US backed Uganda’s long serving dictator to rule Ethiopia with iron fist.., ( the dream) and carry out US regime change operations in the horn, and perhaps beyond. Though such arrangements  may appear secure on the surface, none lasted long enough as the record shows ( Sandam H. was one US good buddy)… except in Uganda’s case and perhaps maybe in some other African & S. American states ( sleepy towns).  

    But again, he feels so secured (as his US hired gun position perhaps solidifying) he is building a Palace for a PM, unheard of anywhere in the world.., who knows he might be planning to crown himself down the road.  

    However, as seen in the event in the Middle East huge and unexpected changes are happening warp speed world wide lately, by the look of it  there are a lot such events to come between now and 2025, fast and swift changes can happen in a blink of an eye, anywhere in the world…,
    Well, we just have to wait and see…

    Off topic subject :

    Here is a link for an audio book written in June 2023 by a Bank insider (banker)
    Those who live in the US (West “credit based economies’ ‘) who might find this book an eye opener and helpful to do some housekeeping & prep in the meantime

    Link = youtube.com/watch?v=aensugLxzws

    Related :

    ” BANKING FORECAST 2024: Future Outlook From Deloitte, Fitch and Moody’s For 2024 ”

    Link = youtube.com/watch?v=XClats01rpc

    Be well.

  2. Ethiopia`s future will be decided by the regional powers; Tigray and Eritrea. The government in Finfine is very weak and losing ground to the Eritrean trained and armed Amhara forces. The threat to Oromia which is the gift of Tigray to the Oromo people is becoming clear. Tigray will have no choice but intervene and defend not the government. but Oromia.

    • We know in your head you already created the State of Tigray but you will never get Wolkait as part of Tigray. Even if you are able to hold by fire power it will be temporary as long as the Amhara people exist. If you are sane you should abandon that dream and reconcile with the Amhara people. That is the only solution I see for Tigray people.

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