By Taye Gedu Aregawi
It is heard that the US and EU are engaged in making peace between the conflicting parties in Ethiopia. The Dar es Salaam negotiation in Tanzania between the government forces and OLF(OLA) is one evidence of this, where the United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Michael (Mike), was reported to take part in the last meeting. These days, it is heard that the US and EU are trying to reach out to Fano leaders in order to negotiate with the Ethiopian government. The westerners, like the EU, UK and USA, if they really truly care for the integrity and peace of the country and Horn, then should ask the most important question at this time in time. The central question for all insiders and outsiders of this peace process is the following: Is Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Nobel Peace laureate, or as some others call him, the war laureate, an asset or liability to the peace process in the country, the Horn, and beyond? This question should be answered at this critical point. We think that he is a bottleneck for the whole peace process. Let us argue for it.
1. His life philosophy and beliefs are problematic. It is very strange, if someone believes and thinks that he is a king in a democratic system. It contradicts the principles of government in the 21st century. As far as he is concerned, he sees himself as a king. The only way out is either you accept such a king and sing, “may the king reign for the millennium,” or you remove such blasphemy from the top of the helm. Even previous governments like EPRDF and Derg were led by authoritarian leaders, but they had functional parties with strong leaders within them. There was a rule of law across different parts of the country. However, during Abiy Ahmed’s time, institutions have lost their meaningful existence. His party members behave like servants to him, to the king. They have no room to question the way the party is handling things. Everything revolves around him and is about him. If his party gathers, it will always be about him. Such an egocentric and self-serving person is not an asset for a peace process. If he agrees for peace, like Pretoria deal, then it is because profitable for him.
2. He does not believe in or accept the principle of true representation for all regions. Any question of true representativeness from any region is perceived as a danger to his kingship. Only those who serve him can stay in power in that particular region. That is why the war in Tigray and the Amhara region, even in the Oromia region, has been/is ongoing. Fano is requesting genuine representation of the Amhara people in the country. OLA has requested to share or assume government in the Oromia region since there was only one party representation in the region in the last election. Even TPLF claims to be representing Tigray by doing an ‘illegal election.’ However, all of these are not accepted by him. They are enemies of his kingship. True representation is a headache for him. That means he cannot use resources to do whatever he wants anywhere in the country. As a king, he is trying to build a name for himself. Every little project carries his name. That is his life goal. However, if the regions have true representatives who can prioritize the issues in the respective region, then he cannot realize his own projects.
How can the fate of millions be equated with one selfish, crazy king who builds a palace when the people in Tigray, Amhara and many other places are facing daily hunger, and millions of internally displaced Ethiopians are suffering on the streets? People are discriminated against based on their ethnicity in daylight. He does nothing about it. There is no rule of law in the country. He will crush you with all his might if you ask him to prioritize something other than his palace or lodge projects. Those few individuals who are supporting him are the ones who are corrupt, and they want their benefit from the system to continue. Otherwise, many Ethiopians from all regions and walks of life want this guy to leave his office as soon as possible.
3. He is unstable and inconsistent, and no one trusts him anymore for peace negotiations. By now, everyone knows that words, discussions, and negotiations mean nothing to him. He made big promises and failed miserably. The whole world saw him on TV uttering the borrowed phrase “I am my brother’s keeper” when he received the Nobel peace prize in 2019. In the span of two years, just to maintain his kingship, he participated in a war with TPLF, his former bosses, which resulted in the deaths of millions of people in the country. He continues to do so daily by attacking civilians with drones in the Oromia and Amhara regions. He initially aligned himself with the Ethiopian group but then abandoned them when they no longer served his interests. His main support for his leadership initially came from the Amhara region, but he has now alienated all those friends who stood by him, even within his own party, including the main reform leaders Gedu and Lemma Megerssa. He was once a friend of Eritrea and Somalia, but now he could go to war with them at any time. The Somalian leader has said on al Jazeera on live TV, that he was backstabbed by Abiy. He is now a leader who cannot be relied upon by the other Horn countries. He tries to be friends with both the east and west blocs at the same time. If it were based on principles, he would have been understood. But there are no principles, only emotions and a self-obsessed desire for kingship. That is the driving factor! Aspiring to be a leader is something commendable. However, it should not come at the expense of millions of other people. This makes him irrelevant to the country, the Horn, and beyond. Unstable for negotiation! Unstable for a peace deal.
It is possible to provide many other reasons why he is liable at this moment in time: he is not trusted by the three major ethnic groups; he has already made enemies from various ethnic groups; he lacks the competency to build independent and strong institutions; the country is in turmoil everywhere; he fails to prioritize the primary roles of government in his leadership; and lawlessness has become rampant under his rule. He is not an asset but a liability for the future of all Ethiopians and Ethiopia, except for a few of his comrades who benefit by obeying him. If the peace mediators have no other intention, such as dividing and weakening the country, they should contribute to solving the existing problem. He is not even the right guy for the mediators’ interests, either. When he gets the right time, he will go against their interest. So, they should plan a peace process that excludes him. Again, unless otherwise, he is already their hidden asset to disintegrate the country into different nations. The reason one can think of such is their silence when he and his military commanders are committing atrocities in the daylight that have never happened in this century. It seems their hidden hand is behind all the mess if they continue to recognize and support him further.
In general, peace in Ethiopia can truly come when every ethnic group understands that the age of dominating other ethnic groups by force has gone forever. The age of kingship has also gone forever. Trying to follow the principle of “ተረኝነት-Teregninet” – (it is my turn to dominate) – is gone forever. Such an appetite has to die for everyone. The Fano movement seems to understand this principle. Now, to implement it practically, all Ethiopians from all walks of life and all ethnic groups can come together with true representations (not with those fake ones who only care for their own stomachs). Peace be to Ethiopia, Ethiopians, and beyond!
Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com
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