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HomeOpinionThree strategies that worked for Abiy Ahmed against Fano

Three strategies that worked for Abiy Ahmed against Fano

Abiy _ Fano _ Ethiopia
Credit : Steve _ Hanke

By Dr. Minale Wolkait

Since Abiy wickedly launched his military operation against the people in the Amhara region, he has lost tens of thousands of his soldiers across the different terrains of the Amhara region. The military operation started with the aim to disarm the people but ended up with the opposite result, arming the people there with a vast number of weapons of different types and many thousands of ammunition. The Fano movement, inspired by the resilient and patriotic spirit of the people, backed by deeper historical narratives, dismantled the image of Abiy Ahmed as a pragmatic and progressive leader. His true image has been more exposed to the whole world in the past eight months than during his cleverly managed two-year war with the TPLF/TDf of the Tigray region, where he squarely put the blame of that war on his opponents. Now he is like a severely wounded animal trying to survive every day in many tragic ways. In this piece, three main strategies that he actively uses are presented as follows:

Strategy  # 1   The Propaganda war 

Major wars in the world are not always won by having a strong army and possessing vast weapons of war. The propaganda machine is key to success. The Nazis used both during the Second World War. The Americans gained the upper hand over terrorism by using sophisticated  weapons including  drones, as well as public and digital front propaganda to paralyze their enemy’s momentum across the world effectively.  አበው ሲተርቱ  “ጦር  ከፈታው ወሬ የፈታው”  ብለው የለ .  A skilled propagandist utilizes various tactics, such as wrong policies, personalities, events, and activities to dominate the news cycle for days, weeks, or even months. Four months ago, at the peak of Fano’s victory over him on the military and diplomatic front, he came up with the narrative of the Port (Assab and Red Sea, later Somaliland). These two policies dominated the news cycle for months. He even sent out his military chiefs, such as the field marshal and air force leader, to speak to the public for hours on TV. He did this for two purposes: to expose the incompetence of these individuals in their positions so that the people do not follow these leaders if they thick military cover over him and to dominate the propaganda war front by using their mistakes and errors. The latest example of dominating the news cycle is the massacre in Marawi, where they deliberately recorded civilian killings by the army  and distributed them through different means. The message is clear: to instill fear in the region’s people and dominate the news cycle for days and weeks. Now he is trying to put the blame on the lower level of the military forces and the regional militias who are bought by huge amounts of money. These forces are reported to be ambushed as they travel to Bahir Dar city. Hence the blame will be on these unfortunate beings. 

For his propaganda machine to function well, he uses the useful idiots. The useful idiots think they have some unique history to tell the whole world, for example, what Abiy and his generals planned secretly, and they expose it. While they are engaged in reporting the wrong steps and mistakes of the regime, they are propagating what Abiy wants. For instance, while preparing to reshuffle his cabinet and push out the foreign minister and vice prime minister, Demeke Mekonnen, he sent out a rumor that he and the Oromia region president, Obo Shimlies, are on different pages:  Shimelis has rebelled against Abiy by refusing to leave his current position for other federal responsibilities. As if there is rift between him and the Oromo elites.  These days, he is trying hard to act like an Ethiopianist and a central figure by appointing a seasoned diplomat from the Amhara ethnic group, Taye Atsekesilassie, as the foreign minister. In addition, he used the event of launching Adewa-00 as if he were a patriotic leader connected to the country’s historic victory over colonialists. All the useful idiots magnify these acts and events without scrutinizing the motives behind critically. The silent majority becomes victims of such a propaganda machine, becomes overwhelmed and disinterested, and distances itself from public engagements.

Strategy  # 2  Divide and Rule  

The British ruled the world using the wisdom of “divide and rule” or “divide and conquer.” Everywhere the British went, they instilled deeper divisions among ethnic groups and their neighbors. This was achieved partly by exploiting existing divisions among opponents and deliberately creating or strengthening these divisions. Recently, Abiy has heavily invested in this strategy. He is attempting to divide the Fano leaders across the Amhara region and those in the diaspora. The amount of money invested in this strategy is astonishing, as even the most seasoned and passionate leaders fall into this trap. It is said that Abiy is printing money and pouring it into the Amhara region to buy people. 

He is also exploiting the diversities within the Amhara region. In Shewa, two Fano military fronts have been formed. In Gondar, there are differences in egos among prominent Fano leaders and fighters, as well as ongoing tensions between the Kimant and others. Additionally, there are different interests regarding Wolkait as an investment area for many. In Wello, religion and ethnic divisions can thrive, while in Gojam, he uses the perceived resentment between the Agew and Amhara. Most importantly, he uses the members of the PP party, who are now seen as the main enemies of the people in the region.

Amhara PP (ብአዴን), which has been effectively dismantled in the past eight months, had millions of members in the region. Abiy has managed to convince some of these people that their existence, along with their families, is in danger if his leadership collapses suddenly. He has tapped into the fears of millions to sustain his leadership, even if only for a few days, weeks, or months. This category includes highly educated individuals like Dr. Dagnachew, who denied the Amhara carnage by the Abiy government; university presidents who support the government’s efforts to undermine the people’s struggle; religious leaders like Daneil Kibret who propagate hate from 4-kilo, and others who act as if they are messengers of peace while covertly spying on Fano leaders;  and business people who profit from the misery of the people by supporting the government in various ways.

Lately, Abiy has sent his secret spies and workers to divide the diaspora. The Ethiopian diaspora has dominated the country’s political trajectory since the late Meles Zenawi time. Due to the lack of freedom of speech, many have fled the country. However, thanks to technology, these groups have managed to voice their distaste using various outlets, such as media and social media. While most of the diaspora supported Abiy’s first three years of leadership, they have managed to dismantle his image across the globe in the past two years. As a result, he has had to devise a mechanism to dismantle the unity of the diaspora against him. He has exploited the pre-existing divisions among the diaspora as well. The media and social media he supports with substantial funds and benefits back home are exacerbating the division. There are many opportunities to divide the diaspora: the ego of some of the elites, along the ethnic line, along the different groupings, along the civic organizations, among the greedy and corrupt individuals who want to profit out of the misery of the country and the people and so on. 

Strategy  # 3 Using the geographical advantage in the Amhara region 

The historical Amhara region’s administrative divisions – Gondar, Shewa, Gojam, and Wello – benefit from extending the lifeline of Abiy Ahmed’s government. The unity of these administrative divisions was established in Addis Ababa in the previous centuries. Previously, it was in Wello, then Gondar and Shewa. In the past three decades, it has been in Bahir Dar, Gojam. Such profound histories have created identities that might slow down the unity across the region. This geographical division has slowed down the momentum of overthrowing the Abiy regime. In Tigray, it was easier to unite the people against the central government. Mekelle was the center of gravity during the two-year conflict. The government’s defeat and victory over TPLF/TDF were measured by its loss or control of Mekelle city. One advantage of the division in the geographical administrative region of Amhara is that the government could not effectively control the whole region. As the region is vast, the military is dispersed, contributing to its downfall. However, the vast region hinders the unity of the Fano forces in many ways. Communication among the different Fano forces is one of the bottlenecks to uniting their efforts. Abiy uses this to his advantage by creating miscommunication and misunderstanding among the Fano fighters. This also extends to the diaspora, as some diaspora members primarily connect with the Fanos from their family areas.

Coming together in large numbers physically and marching to Addis Ababa is also another problem that can be a disadvantage for the Fano movement. Since the government can quickly destroy them using drones, as it did with the TPLF/TDF forces.  Fano must design a strategy to overcome this limitation. Unless a different strategy is used, such as neutralizing the effectiveness of Abiy’s drones; as a result, the existing stalemate situation where Fano controls 75-80% of the Amhara region and the government resides only in Addis Ababa may persist for quite some time. The five million people in Addis Ababa can rebel against the government in masses. If the people of Addis Ababa come out in large numbers to resist Abiy, his government could potentially fall within a day or, at most, a week. Fano must work hard to galvanize the people in Addis Ababa to overthrow this weak and fake government.

Final remark

Abiy’s image as a leader is permanently damaged in the country, region, and globe. It’s a done deal, he is not a Nobel peace laureate any longer, but he is a war laureate. However, it does not mean that his government cannot sustain itself for quite some time. Throughout history, many dictators, criminals, and incompetent leaders have stayed in power for decades using different schemes. Likewise, he may persist for some time or quickly be ousted if something happens to him. Either way, it is wise to understand the current game of this man so that the country can survive his wicked leadership. Those who are engaged in dismantling his regime should see things critically. Ethiopians should unite to remove such a self-serving, dividing, and destructive regime for the sake of future generations. May God protect Ethiopia! Peace be upon Ethiopia and Ethiopians!

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


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  1. Stop lying.
    1/ You are NOT “Dr. Minale Wolkait”
    2/ You said, “Since Abiy wickedly launched his military operation against the people in the Amhara region, he has lost tens of thousands of his soldiers across the different terrains of the Amhara region.” That is a LIE.
    You are hurting, not helping, Amhara cause with your made-up stories.

    Abiy is bad. Because you lie through your teeth, you make him look good! Do you understand this, Dr. Minim Alalem Wolkayit!

  2. Taye Aseqe Selassie is one of the useful Amhara idiots. When he was the head of the Ethiopian comsular in California, he was a passionate TPLF advocate. So we do not expect anything good to come out from him. He is a typical opportunist. As to the the useful Amhara PP idiots (ብአዴን), there is a good solotuin. When Fano wins, they will be deported to Ooromia.


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