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HomeEthiopian NewsAbiy Ahmed's gov't attempts political engagement in Amhara after extending state of...

Abiy Ahmed’s gov’t attempts political engagement in Amhara after extending state of emergency 

Ethiopia Amhara region discussion
Prosperity Party Leaders in a public discussion in Bahir Dar (Photo : PD)

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Barely a week after the latest string of massive killings of civilians in the Amhara region, to be specific in Merawi where up to 100 civilians were killed and after extension of the state of emergency for four months, Abiy Ahmed’s government sent his party’s high-level of officials to the Amhara region to engage the public. 

Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate, State Medi, on Sunday, reported political discussions were organized in 15 cities across the region.  Federal government ministers and regional state presidents were delegated to the region for the discussion. 

In Bahir Dar, the seat of the Amhara regional state, Somali region president Mustafa Mohammed- perhaps the only the only ruling Prosperity Party official with a good political reputation in the region- and Tesfaye Beljige – State Minister in the Parliament and one of the top Oromia region prosperity party official accompanied Arega Kebede, the region’s president for the discussion. 

State media reporter from Bahir Dar said “Participants [told ETV that we have learned about government readiness to resolve the challenges facing the people of the region.” 

“Boundary and Identity issues,” development, good governance, and the constitutions are among the agenda items during the meeting in Bahir Dar and the remaining 14 cities. Regarding what is framed as “boundary and identity” issues – a reference to Wolkait and Raya areas which were incorporated to the Tigray region after the TPLF took power in 1991. Abiy Ahmed’s ruling prosperity party has already imposed a decision for a referendum to take place in that region. Why it became part of the agenda items is unclear. Meles Alem, Prosperity party top official from Oromia region, told participants in Debre Markos discussion that “the problems need to be resolved in a way that they will not cause problems again,” a statement Abiy Ahmed has been saying in connection with Wolkait and Raya. Tesfaye Belgige mentioned the same issue in the meeting in Bahir Dar. ” Government understands that there has been a long-lasting identity and boundary question in the region,” he said. 

Mustata Muhammed’s speech focused on the importance of peace. He made a nuanced point; “There is no challenge that will be resolved through the use of force.” 

Arega Kebede, president of the region who was appointed to the position after the government introduced a state of emergency in August 2023, told participants that discussion has been held at the ruling party executive and party level regarding the constitution. “At this point, an agreement is reached that the constitution is based on a flawed narrative.” He was trying to insinuate that there will be a constitutional reform. 

Grievances in the Amhara region of Ethiopia 

Ethnic Amhara Ethiopians have long been subjected to politically motivated attacks in different parts of Ethiopia at least for nearly three decades now. In the past five years alone, tens of thousands of ethnic Amhara communities have been massacred mainly in the Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz regions of Ethiopia. State and non-state actors are linked to it. The problem has been extensively reported by human rights organizations. 

More recently, the Oromia regional state demolished hundreds of thousands of houses – mostly belonging to ethnic Amhara- in the outskirts of Addis Ababa – a city that is now established as Sheggar city – under the guise of “illegality.” Those whose houses were demolished present evidence from bill payments for several years to prove their rightful ownership. Many of the victims are now reduced to homelessness. Shimeles Abdissa, president of the Oromia region, is among the regional presidents delegated for the public discussion in the region. 

Another recent development that could demonstrate a government-linked attack on ethnic Amhara is that travelers from the region were banned from entering the capital Addis Ababa. The federal government and Addis Ababa City Administration justified the action when they said the motive of travelers from the region was to topple the federal government. After the state of emergency was declared in August 2023, thousands of ethnic Amhara were detained in the capital Addis Ababa, and taken to detention centers. Human Rights organizations have been condemning government measures.  

The state of peace in the region 

The government seems to be changing its narrative about the state of peace in the region. It has been claimed that “Peace and normalcy are restored” in the region. Now officials are saying that the peace in the region is “relative” and that the effort is to transform it into “lasting peace.” 

There have been reports from local sources that Fano Forces continue to make significant military gains. Recent YouTube video footage published by some of the news providers from Ethiopia purportedly showed captured government soldiers from the recent fighting between Fano and Abiy Ahmed’s government forces. 

It remains to be seen if the combination of ruthless massacre of civilians and nominal political engagement could lead to the transition from “relative peace” to “durable peace.”  

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2 COMMENTS

  1. When I see the face of that fire spitting patriot Brother Mustafa Mohammed Omar, I can sleep well tonight. I had this before on several occasions before and I’m gonna say it again once more. I would rather not to see the next prime minister to be from the Amhara, Oromo or Tigray ethnic groups. Anyone chosen from these three ethnic groups will bring a lot in baggage all the way to the palace which will cause a lot of distraction for him/her. The southerners also had their share already through the former Prime Minister Brother Haile Mariam Desalegn. So the next premiership, I say an Afar or a Somali or bust!!! You heard me right! I repeat! A Somali, an Afar or bust!!! Okay bigots! If don’t like what I said here, go jump in a lake and don’t you dare think about coming up!!! Stay down there and your bosom buddy Iblis will join you soon after that.

    • I may add this to my wish for the next premiership. An Afar or a Somali women or bust! There are a few firebrand patriotic and over qualified women from both ethnic groups. Let them show us, the men, how a country is supposed to be run. Then they should tell us, the men, to go way back in line and stay there for the next 100 years.

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