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Abiy Ahmed’s authoritarian leadership, empty promises of reforms, misinformation, misleading claims and white lies are fracturing Ethiopia.

By Teum Mezgebo
Tigrai Online Oct. 28, 2020

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is not only has failed to live up to his early promises and Medemer philosophy, he has unleashed a wave of repression, margination of ethnic groups by locking up his political opponents and those he once freed. He is advancing a dangerous form of nationalism that is against the Ethiopian Constitution and the wishes of the many peace-loving Ethiopians. His lies, deceptions, betrayal and antagonistic political order are hurting people’s livelihood and costing many lives throughout his premiership.

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Abiy’s administration has been silent from the start to condemn the atrocities committed by Amhara and Oromo extremists against non-Amhara and non-Oromo in Amhara and Oromia. Abiy and his PP elites have been ignoring ethnic violence to escalate out of hand, allowing the rule of law to be broken, ethnic cleansing and targeted political killings to take place. As a result, many innocent and defenceless Ethiopians were murdered and their properties burnt to the ground because of their ethnicity and religious belief.

On the other hand, his Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen has been advocating to arming ethnic Amharas in Metekel to entice ethnic conflict with the blessing of Prime Minister Abiy. This is against the spirit of the constitutional political order and rule of law. Effectively, Abiy Ahmed and Demeke Mekonnen are making the Federal Police and National Army redundant and irrelevant from their duties to protect citizens. Abiy is at war with his people.

Prime Minister Abiy and his PP elites are endangering the sovereignty of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people must defend Ethiopia as one nation from disintegrating and must rise to unseat the unelected Abiy’s administration and PP elites to restore the pride and unity of Ethiopia. The Amhara and Oromo people are peace-loving people but their political leaders (i.e. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) Tagesse Chafo, President of Oromia Shimelis Abdisa, President of Amhara Temesgen Tiruneh and PP elites) are endangering the unity and security of Ethiopia.

Abiy’s administration ill thought political rhetoric, misinformation, populist propaganda, empty promises of reforms, misleading claims and white lies have led to full-scale mayhem and ethnic violence. Abiy’s credibility is non-existence in the eyes of the people of Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Afar, Tigrai, Sidama, Walayta, Gedeo, Agew, Kemant, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz and other ethnic groups. Abiy’s political blunder has claimed many innocent lives and his hatred and incompetence is causing ethnic conflict. Abiy’s sheer ignorance and naivety to separate political party from people has shown his incapability to deal with the political and economic crisis engulfing the Ethiopian people. He has lost a rational discourse but he seems to be in denial about the level of crisis the country is facing. It was shocking and disheartening to hear his utter lies stating the economy growing at 6.5% where the economic activities completely stagnated due to COVID pandemic and lack foreign investors. His dishonesty is getting worse. He resorts to misleading claims and lies in order to be seen that he is smart and in control. In reality, he is incapable of leading and comprehending the county’s political, economic and social issues and putting the country into irreconcilable political and economic mess. His end game is to bring down everyone with him.

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Abiy Ahmed has allowed Eritrean security forces to embed with the Ethiopian security forces and his action is treason, which put the security and sovereignty of Ethiopia in a serious danger. Abiy Ahmed is not listening to his citizens and other political parties. Instead, he is listening to Isaias Afeworki who has no interest in the sovereignty and security of Ethiopia. Isaias Afeworki will love to see Ethiopia is fragmented and destroyed so that he will exploit Ethiopia’s wealth unchallenged. Isaias Afeworki, the archenemy of Ethiopians, is at the centre of Abiy administration. Why is Prime Minister Abiy having frequent meeting with Isaias Afeworki than with the opposition parties? Is Abiy plotting war against Tigrai with the help of Isaias?

Isaias Afeworki’s tyranny rule has made Eritrea an open prison and he has shuttered the dream of Eritreans. Freedom, democracy and economic development has become a distance reality for Eritreans by Isaias’s dictatorial and hatred mentality. As a result, Eritreans have been impoverished economically, socially and politically for the last 27 years. Yet, Abiy Ahmed is obsessively conspiring with Isaias Afeworki’s to inflict economic, social and peaceful coexistence amongst multicultural and diverse ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Ethiopians must save their country to prevent breaking up by exercising their democratic rights in the ballot box to eliminate Abiy Ahmed and his PP cliques from power and elect a leader who can work for Ethiopia’s sovereignty and the Ethiopian people.     

Medemer (unitary) was supposed to be the pinnacle of Abiy Ahmed starting in office. It seems that his self-fulfilling prophecy and ignorance leads him to a complete failure to devise and implement policies with collective consensuses that benefits and accommodate the nations and nationalities without encountering a formidable resistance from federalist ethnic groups. Referendum on Federalism or Medemer (unitary) system of government could have been the best solution to start with for Abiy Ahmed. Instead, Abiy is consolidating his power and he increasingly deploying a divisive, antagonistic, false claims and authoritarian rule without consulting the Ethiopian people. He is vehemently denying the Ethiopian people to exercise their democratic rights to have a say on federalism or Medemer (unitary) system of government. Hence, many ethnic groups including his supporters has lost faith in Abiy’s leadership.

The people of Tigray supported Abiy Ahmed initially with an open arms hoping that he will bring about tangible reforms to all Ethiopians. Abiy’s popularity in the eyes of Tigraians short lived and their hope for progressive democracy was shuttered when Abiy Ahmed has allowed the road to Tigrai to be blocked in Weldiya by Amhara anarchists. Consequently, the road blockage has reminded the people of Tigrai the repressive regimes of Hailesalassie and the Derg and pushed Tigraians to unite and exercise their democratic rights. It was the worst political strategy ever taken by Abiy administration. The road blockage in Weldiya was intended to harm the Tigraian economy. In contrast, his incoherent strategy has resulted to the total collapse of Amhara livelihood in Weldiya, Dessie and all the way up to Debre Berhan as Tigraian traders stop doing business since 2018.

Abiy’s administration political game has not deterred the people of Tigrai to exercise their rights to hold election but determined to pursue their democratic rights and resisted to Abiy’s and the House of People’s Representatives flip-flop constitutional interpretation to postpone the election using coronavirus pandemic as an excuse. Without wavering, the people of Tigrai exercised their democratic rights and elected their government. All other ethnic groups must call for election before Abiy’s government inflict serious damage to their rights and self-rule.

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Moreover, the people of Tigrai foresaw the shortcomings of Abiy’s administration which attempting to bring about the unitary system of government. The unitary system of government proved to be a system of repression against Tigrai and other ethnic groups for about a century. Abiy is using every tool he can deploy to deprive the people of Tigrai economic development. He blocked foreign investors from travelling to Tigray; he excluded Tigrai from receiving Covid-19 masks which were distrusted to all schools throughout country; he blocked vital equipment supplies intended to Tigrai to fight against the desert locust, and withheld federal monetary budget and denied various support programmes provided by International development partners to the Tigrai. The prime Minister mental state of fair governance under the Ethiopian constitution is deteriorating and his dictatorial mentality is a great concern not only to the people of Tigrai but also to all Ethiopians. He is pushing the country to the cliff edge of civil war.

The unelected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, Tagesse Chafo and PP elites have a deep rooted and political charged ethnic hatred against the people of Tigrai, Walayta, Benishangul-Gumuz, Sidama, and many other ethnic groups. Knowing, the Ethiopian constitution guarantees self-rule and yet, Abiy Ahmed, Demeke Mekonnen and Tagesse Chafo are pressing ahead to impose their vision of unitary system of government over the many ethnic groups. The Medemer (unity, work together, love and peace) vision has failed to convince the majority ethnic groups. Ethiopia is heading to the era of Zemene mesafint. Sidama went ahead with the referendum and won. Welayta is requesting its own statehood. Tigrai wants self-determination. Abiy and PP elites must remember that the people of Tigrai 17 years’ bitter struggle against the brutal Derg will not go in the drain. Other ethnic groups will not support Abiy’s Ahmed Medemer vision as they do not want to return to past of repressive unitary system of government. The list is growing and Abiy’s Medemer vision will not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Abiy Ahmed underestimates the fallout with his supporters and non-supporters could undermine Ethiopia’s sovereignty and unity. Abiy’s Medemer vision is not good to 83 plus ethnic groups. He has no credibility amongst his core supports and opponents alike as they have learnt his Medemer dogma is only designed to revive the repressive unitary government of Menelik, Hailesalassie and the Derg. The unitary system of government was tested during Menelik, Hailesalassie and the Derg, and the system failed miserably to all ethnic groups but benefited the Amhara elites to stay in power.

Abiy missed the opportunity to bring the people of Tigrai and all Ethiopians to his side as the people of Tigrai are the pillar of Ethiopian sovereignty and security. Abiy’s unthoughtful Medemer dogma and political strategy contributes to amplify Oromo and Amhara nationalism. Politically motivated killings and ethnic cleansing against innocent people have become the norm in Oromia and Amhara regions. Abiy’s administration is failing to protect citizens and uphold the rule of law. Abiy is unleashing mass arrest of opposition parties and regional government employees in Oromia, Amhara, Walayta, Benishangul-Gumuz. Abiy is instructing his officials and security forces to harass and intimidate ordinary Tigraians in Addis Ababa in a massive scale and removing them from government jobs because of their ethnicity.

To all Ethiopians, Ethiopian history will be rewritten if Tigrai cannot be part of Ethiopia. As a matter of urgency, all Ethiopians should lend their support to the people of Tigrai by opposing and voting out the tyranny of Abiy’s administration, which is inflicting economic, social and political harm to Ethiopians and the people of Tigrai now. Abiy Ahmed and Tagesse Chafo, Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) are pushing Tigrai from the federation and encouraging Tigrai to break away from Ethiopia. The people of Tigrai believe that Tigrai is best served under one Ethiopia. To reaffirm, the people of Tigrai do not want to see the fragmentation of Ethiopia as it will damage Ethiopians’ prosperity. Abiy’s administration is conspiring with Isaias Afeworki to drag Ethiopians to the dark ages; dismantle its economy and break up Ethiopia.

A peaceful political dialogue amongst all political parties must be held to resolve their political differences and form a transitional government. All political prisoners should be released to enable peaceful political debates and conduct genuine election to enshrine democracy, human rights and peaceful coexistence amongst all ethnic groups. The Ethiopian people must ask Abiy Ahmed where his interest and loyalty are i.e. “with Ethiopia” or Isaias Afeworki.

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Abiy is leading an oppressive and authoritarian regime as he is surrounded by incompetent individuals and advisers in his administration. Abiy Ahmed and PP cliques can be stop from selling Ethiopia to foreign powers in the ballot box. All Ethiopians must set aside their differences and save Ethiopia from fracturing. Ethnic hatred, economic, political and social marginalisation must end so that all ethnic groups can live together peacefully under one Ethiopia. The risks of Ethiopia disintegrating are high and the impact of which would be too much to bear for all Ethiopians. The choice and power are in the hand of all Ethiopians to demand and elect a competent leader who defends the security and sovereignty of Ethiopia as well as who cherishes and celebrates the diversity and equality of all ethnic groups.