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Ethiopia’s ruling party does not recognize the existential threat facing ethnic Amhara people

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed that he will not pause his “law enforcement” operation for a moment 

Amhara question - Ethiopian News
Abiy Ahmed speaking at the parliament (photo : screenshot from FBC video)

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Ethiopia’s ruling party, under Abiy Ahmed’s leadership, has recently been engaged in a renewed propaganda war regarding the conflict in the Amhara region while intensifying military actions in the region claiming civilian lives. 

Barely a week after government forces executed at least 80 civilians following house-to-house searches in Merawi town, approximately 35 kilometers from the Amhara regional capital Bahir Dar, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deployed his cabinet minister and top party officials to the region over the weekend for a political engagement with the public.

The State media aired video footage of the meetings. Party officials, regional presidents, and cabinet ministers were seen interpreting the causes of Amhara’s grievance. While pointing out that the demands have been asked for a long time, they identified three causes for the political problem in the region, “constitutional reform, development, identity, and territory question.”

Abiy Ahmed reiterated these demands when he appeared at the Ethiopian parliament. While it is a fact that tens of thousands of ethnic Amhara civilians had been killed in the Amhara and Oromia regions under his watch, hundreds of thousands of houses belonging to ethnic Amhara were demolished in the outskirts of Addis Ababa – among many other issues – none of these were mentioned. Both state and non-state actors in the Oromia and Benishangul regions were involved in the massacre. The lack of legal, political, and security actions on the part of Abiy Ahmed’s government gave rise to a sense of existential threats in the Amhara region.

It is against the backdrop that the Fano Movement emerged in the Amhara region with a stated motto of reversing the existential threat of Amhara. The positive response to the Fano movement in the region and beyond is evident. Abiy Ahmed confirmed it when he said in the parliament this week that hope that rebels would achieve victory has made the operation his government is undertaking against rebel forces difficult. He described the hope as “leaning on a fog.” 

As borkena reported in the past, when Abiy Ahmed’s administration declared a state of emergency in August 2023, the plan was to disarm and end the Fano Movement within a few weeks. However it proved that his government was unable to achieve it in six months, and the parliament extended it for another four months based on Abiy Ahmed’s government proposal. The Fano movement gained broad-based support in the region because the notion of an “existential threat” is a shared sentiment in the region and beyond. 

Addressing the existential threat as an Amhara question is either overlooked or ignored, even though the demand has become a popular agenda with widespread support.

Moreover, Abiy Ahmed’s government forces carried out extensive rights abuses in the Amhara region since the start of the military operation in the region. Hundreds of civilians have been killed by government drone strike and artillery shelling ( and this is confirmed by reputable human rights organizations). 

Ethnic Amharas have also grievances about the right to mobility, to work and live in any part of Ethiopia as citizens. 

Abebaw Desalew is a member of Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representative (parliament). He shared his views with Anchor media regarding PM Minister Abiy Ahmed’s latest question and answer in the parliament. Overall, the says fewer questions were asked than before and no critical question was asked. Also, he disagrees that constitutional reform, development and territorial issues are not the only demands of the Amhara people. “There are other demands too, For example, Amhara has been attacked because of identity in Oromia, Benishangul and other regions of Ethiopia. That was not raised, “he said. 

Meanwhile, multiple local news sources indicate that the Fano forces have made significant military gains in different parts of the region, and they are now demanding the end of Abiy Ahmed’s government. But that is not acceptable to Abiy Ahmed. In his appearance in the parliament this Tuesday, he stated that his government will not pause “law enforcement” for a moment. 

Before Fano made it a political goal, two parliamentarians (Christian Tadele and Dessalegn Chane) from the Amhara region asked Abiy Ahmed in the parliament to resign from his position. Dessalegn Chane was arrested days before Abiy Ahmed made his latest appearance in parliament.

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