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Ethiopia: Negotiated or Brokered Peace?

Editor’s note : Initially this article was published on June 11 under the title “The fate of Ethiopia : negotiated or brokered peace.” A family member submitted this version again on June 22, 2024 citing that it is the original version. The writer has been put behind bars since April 2023.

From Meskerem Abera

It has been 33 years since Ethiopia has politicized and institutionalized ethnicity and make politics tantamount to ethnicity. The political ecology of the country, thus, became full of competing, irreconcilable and mutually exclusive ethnic interests. Thus this gave rise to sharpen and deepen ethnic mistrust that currently developed into full-blown war and crisis. 

For more than three decades, highly ethicized politics of the country remains the source of the country’s major problem than a solution. Mistrust and distrust overrides the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the political architecture of the country. No one trust anyone else. The magnificent share of political mistrust goes to the previously Tigrian and currently Oromo elites dominated incumbent government.

As Oromo elites are currently dominating the politico-military and economic realm of Ethiopia, other ethnic groups of the country realized that they are being overruled by Oromo elites and resented about it. The mistrusted and illegitimate government by its side is breathless to white wash it’s surfaced ethnic hegemony, harsh tyranny and brutality by reiterating the “imperatives” of ostensible national dialogue. Hence, the all-powerful prime minister; Abiy Ahmed, crafted the so called national dialogue commission two years before and he uproar about the “ absolute” independence  of the commission.

But it is common knowledge that despotic leaders akin to Abiy Ahimed don’t allow any independent institutions to operate in their realm. Such rulers are puppet masters who tend to manipulate every seemingly independent institution. Therefore, Ethiopians are not fool to trust the alleged independence of the commission. The prevailing public opinion towards every move of the dialogue commission witnesses this fact. 

Despite the palpable public mistrust, the government and the commission continue to further their move of consuming bank-breaking budget of cash-starved nation. Needless to say, genuine national dialogue which is intended to address the root causes of the problems obviously can deliver durable peace. Such dialogue, from other things, demands the active participation of principal actors of the ongoing and even latent conflicts. This will upgrade the dialogue into negotiation that might significantly challenge the statuesque extending to change of government. 

The intention of such negotiation is the realization of durable peace at any cost including losing of state power. In Ethiopia, however, the Oromo ruling elites championed by Abiy Ahmed are not ready to scarify their power in exchange of durable peace. Instead they are doing their level best to advance their “elected” Oromo imperial government. They plan to stay on power for the next three thousand years, as one Oromo ruling elite publicly uttered two years ago.

To materialize their unrealistic dream of establishing “elected” Oromo dynasty, they are proliferating various irrational mechanisms without being explicit about their real motives. The notorious means they often propagate is economic development and prosperity that will be possible only by their party. They breathlessly allude prosperity and national wealth while the country is at the midst of war, conflict and elimination. 

Their unrealistic urge for power compel them to forget the reciprocating relationship between peace and development. Indeed, without peace development is impossible; without development peace is not durable. Incumbent government of Ethiopia however applause about both peace and development time and time again. The kind of peace the government often allude about is brokered peace that does not address the root causes of the ongoing conflicts. In the same token, the kind of development government officials are referring does not exist in the real life of the masses.

Brokered peace might be ostensibly and temporarily projected in any country in exchange of material benefit leveraged to peace brokers. In case of Ethiopia, the current peace broker is the so called National Dialogue Commission. The leaders of the commission earned zoomed material benefit from the power starved government. To this end around seven billion Ethiopian birr is allocated to the commission. This figure does not include the grants from western countries and European Union.

No doubt, peace is panacea to multifaceted problems of any country; what needs to be very clear is the kind of peace. Only negotiated peace can up root major political problems that have usually been translated into war and conflict. To this end, principal actors of the ongoing armed conflict and prudent politicians cognizant of Ethiopian’s ethnic politics need to play key role in the negotiation process beginning from the genesis of negotiation commission. 

The government of Ethiopia, however, deliberately confuse brokered peace and negotiated peace not to endanger its state power. This notorious puppet master government adores to discuss with its own handpicks gathered by the peace broker dialogue commission. This is mainly because such puppet master tyrants and deceptive governments cannot stand cognizant dissidents who can pose sophisticated debate. Even worse, prudent politicians and cognizant dissident are labeled by the government as “spoilers of peace and enemies of the stability” .They are further be deviled as sources of all political problems of the nation. So, avoiding of less gullible prudent dissident became tantamount to avoidance of major problems of the nation from the “peace process”. 

The end result of all these wanton moves and arguments will be delivery of brokered peace that definitely will further escalate the ongoing conflicts and even trigger fresh conflicts. Despite its dangerous outcome, the government has continued to fund and advocate brokered peace. In fact, brokered peace is naturally advocated by owners and beneficiaries of the statuesque. This is why the upcoming brokered peace by the dialogue commission of Ethiopia is appreciated by the Oromo elites more than anyone else in the country. 

On the other hand Amhara political elites and warring Fanos, who are overruled by the Oromo dominated regime prioritize justice, equality, freedom and dignity than brokered peace. Hence they adhere  their armed struggle rejecting the lethal invitation of the government to be part of the brokered peace process. In fact, this does not mean Amhara political elites and combatant Fanos do not need peace.  War is not picnic, they need peace may be more than the government wants. But the kind peace Amharas seek is negotiated peace, the end result of which is not pre-destined by the tyrant government.

The end result of the ongoing peace dialogue however is predetermined by the power starved government. Prime minister Abiy Ahmed who look deadly serious about the issue, openly asserted to the dialogue commission’s congregation as transitional government is impossible even to imagine in Ethiopia. After the prime minister’s serious remark, commissioner of the dialogue, Professor Mesfin Araya appeared on media to give his comment on the issue. The commissioner who had nothing to say tried to defend the in defendable to only show the commission’s more than willing stand to be used by the prime minister.  

Meskerem Abera is a well-known Prisoner of Conscience Journalist, Writer, and Political analyst. She is currently at Kaliti prison, Ethiopia 

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


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1 COMMENT

  1. Partial and fair peace negotiations, where all stakeholders can take part are the best interest of everyone and the whole country. But brokred fake peace scheme manipulated and staged behind the scene by the current regime is not. It is simple as that. But Abiy and his currupt and ill-conceived regime are not interested such forward looking and noble proposition. On the contrary,, he is adamantly opposed to it crowning blatantly himself as the new king on the block by publicly declaring recently that there won’t be transitional government nor any negotiated issue over his power. That is the grime political reality the nation is facing as we speak.

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