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HomeOpinionThe parliamentary show: Abiy Ahmed's bravado and despair on full display

The parliamentary show: Abiy Ahmed’s bravado and despair on full display

parliamentary show _ Ethiopian PM _ Abiy
Abiy Ahmed downplaying Fano movement as “three men with Klashinkov” movement (photo : PD)

By Mekuria 

In a recent parliamentary session, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed displayed a mix of bravado and despair as he fielded tough questions from an opposition member, a member of NAMA. His responses ranged from confident assertions to moments of vulnerability. Abiy’s confidence shone through as he defended his government’s actions and policies, including his handling of the conflict in Amhara. However, his demeanor wavered when addressing probing questions about human rights abuses and political repression under his administration, revealing the challenges he faces as a leader. At times, Abiy’s despair was evident as he struggled to address criticisms and accusations, showing signs of frustration and helplessness.

I will not comment on Abiy Ahmed’s parliamentary report regarding the economic progress Ethiopia has made under his rule, as the stark reality of the dire conditions in Ethiopian society is evident in the quality and quantity of food found in Ethiopian kitchens. His misleading statements begin with comparing Ethiopia’s GDP to that of Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya, countries with significantly smaller populations. Djibouti’s per capita income, in fact,  is three times higher than that of Ethiopia. Additionally, I will not dwell on the false pretense he tries to create in the minds of the parliamentarians by presenting scientific matters as if he is speaking with authority. It is widely known that he only completed up to the 7th grade.

Let’s explore the political aspect of Abiy’s speech. He argues that the Amharas cling to traditional beliefs, resist new ideas, and have a fondness for the jungle. Abiy asserts that modern political discourse should occur in cities, towns, and parliament rather than in the jungle, indirectly alluding to the unrest and conflict in Amhara. However, it is clear that Abiy does not participate in constructive political debates, adhere to the rule of law, or accept challenges to his leadership, even from elected parliamentarians. He expresses disappointment that Amharas remain entrenched in ethnic divisions, while he strongly advocates for an Oromo-first ideology. He portrays the Amharas as stuck in a cycle of historical conflicts, fighting battles from the past, which is the role of him and Oromo fundamentalists. He criticizes the Fano movement as weak and incapable of resisting his powerful army, belittling them for having a feeble arsenal of no more than three AK-47s. This assertion contradicts the one-year national emergency he imposed in Amhara and still maintains. State machinery with a formidable army would not impose a national emergency for one year due to just three AK-47s involving Fano. He accuses the Amharas of instigating conflicts and then playing the victim by alleging genocide when faced with retaliation, even though his army retaliates by targeting innocent civilians when hard hit by Fanos. Abiy continues to open his mouth, “Once you start a fight, we fire back, even if that means killing civilians indiscriminately.” He blames the people who encourage Amharas citing they won’t get the heat while ordinary people die, but he does not elaborate on whether he is engaging in the actual fight and feeling the heat.

Abiy Ahmed issued a warning to human rights agencies in Ethiopia, including the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, suggesting they could be banned without justification for carrying out their responsibilities. The next day, Dr. Daniel Bekele, the Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, was denied a second term, as announced by the parliament speaker. The role of the commission is not to conceal crimes and praise Abiy Ahmed every time Ethiopians are killed by his police, military, and security forces. When Abiy Ahmed appointed Bertukan Midekssa and Dr. Daniel Bekele, he believed he could manipulate them through monetary means, as he outlined in his book on influencing people. These individuals have not completely lost their integrity and have attempted to report irregularities, although not to the full extent. Abiy Ahmed denied corruption in his administration, despite the fact that the modus operandi of his government was illegal at every level, from land grabbing to trading to bribing army generals.

Abiy Ahmed seems to have felt the pressure from the West, where rumors suggest that alternatives to his leadership are being explored through consultations with influential political figures. This has provoked Abiy, leading him to become defiant and make various statements. Abiy proudly mentions his military background and claims to have organized the military to prevent a coup. However, security concerns arose before a parliamentary meeting, with roads near the conference room closed and security dogs deployed. He professes a belief in elections but faces criticism for orchestrating elections where he serves as both the conductor and the elected candidate. He blames the Amhara Fano and Oromo Shene for seeking to reclaim their ancestors’ land, positioning himself as the sole mediator striving for balance. Nevertheless, his actions in Ethiopia, including in the capital, closely align with the Oromo Shene’s agenda. Abiy Ahmed always speaks the opposite of what he does and belittles what deeply disturbs him inside. He says his government is for constructing roads, building schools, and distributing fertilizer in Amhara. In practice, he changed Amhara schools and health centers to military camps, blocked roads to deny supply to Amhara, denied them access to telephone and internet service, and prevented Amhara farmers from getting fertilizers. He cited the Sudanese case indicating that Ethiopia declines to that similarity if the fighting continues in Amhara and by no means Fano is going to control Aratkilio, but a few minutes back he forgot he talked of 3 AK-47s that Fano cannot beat him. Abiy Ahmed often speaks of Ethiopian unity and solidarity when he encounters challenges, believing that the public will support him during difficult times. Ironically, no one in Ethiopia seems to harbor more animosity towards Ethiopian identity than Abiy Ahmed himself, not even OLA and TPLF. It is amusing to hear him suggest that every village in Ethiopia is preoccupied with thoughts of his village and ethnicity, overlooking the broader concept of Ethiopian unity.

Abiy Ahmed’s body language conveys a sense of despair and anger. He must regret the decision to start a war in Amhara without a valid reason, believing it would please his American masters by giving away Wolqayit and Raya after disarming the Amharas. Abiy Ahmed surely is in the last leg of power. The Fanos have successfully destabilized his army, forcing them to retreat. Now, he is resorting to recruiting underage boys for his fight, but it is unlikely to save him.

Conclusions  

Abiy Ahmed confidently declared that no one would dare to remove him from power, as he had strategically organized the military to prevent a possible coup. This move was cunning, as he had appointed members of his ethnic group to key positions in security, military, policing, and economic leadership. While this may shield him from a direct attack, it does not guarantee protection against others advancing towards the capital to capture him from his palace.

Overall, Abiy Ahmed’s performance in the parliamentary session offered a glimpse into the complex mix of emotions and pressures that he is currently grappling with. As he navigates a turbulent political landscape and seeks to maintain the facade of normalcy and control, his ability to balance bravado with vulnerability exposes a narrative full of lies and unaccomplished tasks. Abiy Ahmed’s actions contradict his words as he undermines his true concerns. He claims to prioritize infrastructure development in Amhara but has converted schools and health centers into military camps, obstructed roads, and hindered farmers’ access to fertilizers. Despite his rhetoric of unity, his actions reveal a disdain for Ethiopian identity. Abiy’s statements on the conflict in Amhara demonstrate his desperation and lack of support. The Fanos have weakened his army, forcing him to resort to desperate measures. Abiy’s grip on power is slipping, and his reliance on new inexperienced fighters is unlikely to save him.

Abiy Ahmed’s power heavily relies on military support, and his bravado and claims of invincibility are solely based on this support. Without the backing of the military, he would quickly lose his hold on power. Military leaders must promptly assess the situation on the ground and take decisive action to capture strategic cities like Gonder and Bahir Dar. They should mobilize with full military equipment, including missiles, artillery, AK-47s, bombs, and anti-air defense units, to show their solidarity with Fano. Time is of the essence, and any delay could enrage Fano and the Amhara community. It is essential for them to act before Abiy Ahmed becomes isolated in his palace in Addis Ababa. Their window of opportunity is narrowing, and there will be a point where they may not receive forgiveness from Fano and the Amhara community if they wait until Abiy Ahmed is cornered in his palace in Addis Ababa.

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


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