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Abiy Ahmed Leading Ethiopia to Oblivion

By Zeate Medhin
Tigrai Online, July 22, 2018

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By the time of his ascent to power, the new prime minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was perceived by many Ethiopians as the unifier of a fractured nation, by some even the savior of the country. His populist oratory mesmerized his base and innocent Ethiopians who were yearning for peace and stability. He took sweeping measures some transgressing the constitutional and legislative order with the blessing of global and regional powers notably the USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia that are bankrolling Abiy Ahmed’s populist agenda. There are several examples that showcase his transgressions including pardoning convicted murderers and allowing entities designated as terrorists by the Ethiopian parliament to freely roam in the country without the authorization of the parliament.

The populist group led by Abiy Ahmed found its constituency in a group of people and entities who hate the TPLF. They hate the TPLF because they perceive it as the vanguard of the Federal order. Typical of a populist leader, the new prime minster has brought together a demagogic coalition with incompatible ideologies and aspirations to rally around his primary mission of weakening or destroying the TPLF. To isolate the TPLF, the new prime minister is portraying it as the stumbling block to change and the only organization resisting his “medemer” rhetoric. He is aggressively campaigning to create a wedge between the TPLF and the people of Tigray employing dirty tactics. He is bringing individuals of Tigray origin such as General Abebe Teklehaimanot, as Malcolm X would have called them “the house niggers”, to support his narrative of alienating the TPLF. People like Abebe have no qualm of furthering Abiy Ahmed’s agenda of splitting the people of Tigray but say nothing when Abiy publicly states that the TPLF/EPRDF never defeated the Derg.

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His transactional foreign relations also aim the weakening of the TPLF and eventually forcing the people of Tigray to submission. The recent sprint to normalize relations with Eritrea is a case in point. The people of Tigray and the TPLF and Afar yearn for normalization of relations with Eritrea more than anyone else in Ethiopia. They are the most affected by the no-war no-peace situation, and they are most to benefit from peace. However, it goes without saying that any peace deal that doesn’t involve the people of Tigray, Afar and Eritrea will never succeed. This is conflict resolution 101. Without the involvement of the people of Tigray, Afar and Eritrea, the recent pronouncements of peace are solely between Abiy Ahmed and Isayas Afewerki not between the people of both countries. Thousands of people have died from both sides including innocent children in Mekelle. It is imperative to go through a process of healing for both communities. The mere pronouncement of “love” will not bring peace. The people of Tigray and Afar have a stronger bond with the people of Eritrea than Abiy Ahmed. The TPLF and the EPLF fought together and won together and were bonded by blood (the people of Tigray/Afar and Eritrea are still and will continue to be bonded by blood). However, the love fest between the TPLF and the EPLF didn’t forestall the EPLF from initiating this unwarranted war. The new relationship between Abiy Ahmed and Isayas has only one objective: to eviscerate Tigray from all directions. Abiy wants Isaias to squeeze Tigray from the north to fulfill his populist agenda and Isaias Afwerki wants to end the sanctions and to exact his revenge on the TPLF. This transactional relation based on expediency and it will fail, even worse, it can be the reason for the start of another conflict.

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In summary, Abiy’s populist demagogic group is bringing together the worst parts of different views, ideologies and interests. This group will eventually implode from internal conflicts but in the process, it may cause irreversible and significant damages to our country. We must work to dispel the deep-seated and yet false narratives about the TPLF and the people of Tigray.

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