Ethiopia: A Country on the Brinks

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Ethiopia: A Country on the Brinks [i]
By Dawit W Giorgis *

‘Absolutely Oversold’

Dawit woldegirorgis

As instability and violence spreads across much of Ethiopia, with most recent incidents getting close to the capital in Northern Showa, it is becoming a matter of grave concern to Ethiopians and regional governments, whether there will be a full fledged civil war in Ethiopia. All eyes are on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who came to power on an agenda of peaceful change. During his one-year premiership the country’s situation has gone down from bad to worse with a serious possibility of a civil war.

When Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the USA, began his term in 1928, he was extremely popular.   However, soon after, the Great Depression dominated his presidency.  He is now mostly remembered for his failure to respond to the crisis.  He purportedly said:

My friends have made the American people think of me as sort of superman, able to cope successfully with the most difficult and complicated problems. They expect the impossible from me and should there arise in the land conditions with which the political machinery is unable to cope; I will be the one to suffer…. I have been  “absolutely oversold”.

The single most significant criticism levied against Herbert Hoover is that he did not do enough to combat the Great Depression. Many historians believe Hoover underestimated the severity of the Great Depression. Hoover believed it would get better, but instead it just kept getting worse. Toward the end of his term (he served between 1929-1933), Hoover tried to address the core economic issues, but it was too little too late. Despite Hoover’s last-minute attempt, many Americans believe that he was the man who stood by idly when the country was falling apart.  He served only one term.

Ably was oversold and considered as a superman. Abiy emerged at a time when people were under siege, very insecure and civil war seemed eminent. Abiy’s words and some of his actions were soothing and gave hope to people. Like Hoover, Abiy underestimated the severity and complexity of the problems of Ethiopia.  But unlike Hoover, instead of humility Abiy emberaced the idea that he was being seen as the great redeemer of this troubled nation.  Emperor Haile Selassie, Mengistu and Meles all believed that they were super human beings.  They refused to listen to the warning signs. All faced an ignominious   end and left a legacy that has today put the country on the brinks. Yesterday’s rulers had the integrity of the country as a primary agenda. In this, they did not fail their people. This generation took the mantle of leadership to rectify the mistakes of the past and build on the positive factors that have kept this country united.  This generation has failed in delivering this and put the very existence of the country at peril. Ethiopia has now become a rudderless ship floating on troubled water

 

Ethiopia is a Failed State

Ethiopia is a failed state by all indicators. The concern now is how intense and how tragic it is going to be. The warning signs were there for a few years. Ethnic politics has been bleeding the country and now there are fears that the country might collapse. The leaders and the elites knew that the ethnic politics that has been institutionalized by the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) for the last 28 years was the single cause of discontent and dis enfranchisement that brought the country now to its knees. Neither Meles Zenawi nor his successor wanted to address this issue. When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power, people felt that he was going to be the redeemer of this troubled country. That was exactly one year ago. The euphoria has now evaporated and Ethiopia is fast becoming a failed state in its truest sense.

A failed state includes:

  • Lack of control over armed forces, militias, etc. within the country
  • Lack of free participation in politics
  • Lack of control over territory within national borders
  • Massive displacements
  • Failure to provide public services food, health, shelter etc.…
  • High level of corruption
  • High numbers of refugees seeking to leave
  • No or poorly functioning economy

 

Ethiopia has all the above. States fail because they can no longer provide services. . The most critical is human security If they cannot provide security and protection to the people the governments lose legitimacy in the eyes of the public and people take necessary steps individually or in groups including taking the law into their hands. Other internal and external groups take advantage of the situation and the violence gets worse. The competition for the control of  resources  creates war lords with a plethora of hate directed either at the government or at each other.

 

Addis Standard of March 26 states:

 

“The Ethiopian government, and its regional states’ authorities, are increasingly facing challenges to enforce order and security control over the territory of the federation. Several areas are allegedly not administratively ‘connected’ to the center, but run by local groupings who have either kicked out or breached with the party network of the ruling EPRDF coalition”[ii]

 

The conflict and violence has spread across Oromia region, Northern Showa, Wollo, and Southern Ethiopia and in many other parts of the country. The safest place now, ironically, is Tigray. Criminal gangs mostly associated with OLF, Querro (Oromo youth movement) and groups that are not clearly identified, roam the country freely committing atrocious crimes. People have become used to killings, roadblocks, robbery, displacements, destruction of homes and houses. They have become so routine that people just pray that the worst would not come. But the worst is closing in.

 

A new founded human rights organization in the capital, Addis Abeba, has issued a report on human rights abuses under PM Abiy’s government, in Addis Abeba, the capital. It states on its web site: “This document is intended to serve as a chronological catalogue of Human Rights Abuses and Gross Negligence of Duty on

The part of the Ethiopian government under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed”

 

The Outline of the Report is:

  • The irregular appointment of a mayor in Addis Abeba and its fall out
  • The Burayu Massacre and its fall outs
  • The imprisonment of individuals seeking to establish a civic advocacy group in Addis Abeba
  • The Addis Abeba resident identity card scandal
  • The Legetafo displacement of people by government
  • The Addis Abeba question
  • Demographic engineering

These incidents, taking place in the heart of the country, took the already chaotic nation to another level. The silence of the Prime Minister in most of these incidents was baffling as well. It created the perception that the country was leaderless. A leader of a country in crisis makes hard decisions that are in the best interest of the country. A leader does not allow things to happen on their own. A leader, even in the present loose federal system of Ethiopia, must have a degree of control. PM Abiy is clearly not in control. The central government of Ethiopia today is at its weakest.

The Africa Institute for Strategic and Security Studies (AISSS) warned Ethiopian land regional leaders, numerous times, of the dangers that Ethiopia was facing and the direct impact it would have on regional stability.  AISSS sees Ethiopia’s current situation as a threat to stability in the Horn of Africa and beyond. A civil war in Ethiopia will create unprecedented tragedy and turmoil that will reverberate across the continent and beyond. Allowing armed combatants to enter the country without a clear agreement between the government and the armed combatants was one huge mistake. I attended a meeting where the CEO of the Reintegration Project Office  (Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex Combatants) in the office of the Prime Minster  who informed us that there were no written agreements between the government and the parties to the conflict. This is one of the gross mistakes that led to the current crisis. The militants who were supposed to be demobilized and reintegrated into the society have been allowed to enter the country but have not yet laid down their arms and have not gone through a process that would allow them to reintegrate in the society and live a normal life. One of the senior opposition leaders, Neamin Zeleke,  seriously complained about the government’s unwillingness or incapacity to treat the combatants humanly and in such a way that they don’t become threats to the security of the country. Now some have become real threats. There are several experiences on the subject of demobilization in Africa. The government chose not to seek advice or support.

Not willing or being unable to have a clear road map was another most serious issue that was not in the list of the priorities of the PM.  A road map is a necessary step to begin a transition. With so many of the fundamental issues unaddressed and the leadership unwilling to take bold measures it was not much of  surprise that the country was heading towards uncharted territory.  The government was not prepared to listen and act when the early warning were there for everybody to to see with reports from many corners of Ethiopia and the region.

Today Ethiopia is definitely in the category of the few failed states in Africa. The expert on failed states Robert Rotberg writes on Princeton University Press (The Failure and Collapse of Nation-States):

 

“Failed states are tense, deeply conflicted, dangerous, and contested bitterly by warring factions. In most failed states, government troops battle armed revolts led by one or more rivals. Occasionally, the official authorities in a failed state face two or more insurgencies, varieties of civil unrest, different degrees of communal discontent, and a plethora of dissent directed at the state and at groups within the state”

The central government has lost control of most of the regions and has not been able to perform the basic functions of a government. People have fallen victim to competing factions and criminal gangs. It is prudent as well to suspect that there could be foreign hands in all these. Civil war is looming over Ethiopia, in the most militarized zone in the world, that can possibly change into a proxy war with many foreign stake holders trying to influence situation towards their own interest.

 

The Fragile States Index (FSI) (earlier known as the Failed Sates Index): ‘is an annual ranking of 178 countries. Based on the different pressures they face that impact their levels of Fragility. The Index is based on The Fund for Peace’s proprietary, Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST) analytical approach. Based on comprehensive social science methodology, three primary streams of data — quantitative, qualitative, and expert validation — are triangulated and subjected to critical review to obtain final scores for the FSI.

 

The fragile states index shows consistently, since 2007 that Ethiopia is one of the least dysfunctional states in the world. The failed states index prepared by the reputable Fund for Peace institute shows: 2007-17th, 2008-16th, 2009 16th, 2010 -15th, 2011-20th, 2012-17th, and 2013-19th, 2104-19th, 2015-19th. 2017-15, 2018-15. The 2019 report is expected to be worse. For now, the countries ahead of it are countries like Syria, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Afghanistan, DRC, and CAR all are in severe or state of low intensity war. If situation is allowed to continue Ethiopia will be ahead of all above.

 

The second most populated nation in Africa with over 100 million people, poverty ridden, insecure, unstable and dysfunctional with strategic location and resources will certainly ignite regional conflict and proxy wars. Western countries had falsely   anointed Ethiopia as a stable country with the fastest growing economy in the continent. The facts are clearer now than ever: Ethiopia is a failed state nearing complete collapse.

 

Ethiopia has the highest number of internally displaced people in 2018 with 3 million. ( With more displaced people in 2019 the figure is nearing 4 million)  uprooted from their homes as a result of the conflicts. 1.4 million Ethiopians fled their homes in 2018, while 1.2 million Syrians left.

 

The Guardian has this to say on most recent internal displacements:

“One settlement, in the village of Gotiti, hosts 20-30,000 ethnic Gedeos who have been denied humanitarian assistance – above all food aid – since last August. More than a million Ethiopians were forced from their homes by ethnic violence in 2018 – the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) of any country last year. The worst of it took place in the south, where an estimated 800,000 mostly ethnic Gedeos fled the district of West Guji in Oromia, the country’s largest region. This is a higher number, and over a shorter period of time, than occurred at the height of Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis in 2017….The conflict looked, on the surface, like a Malthusian eruption – in which population outstrips food supply. Gedeos and Guji Oromos share some of the country’s most densely populated farmland, and both groups are fast growing in number. But gruesome reports of lynchings, rapes and beheadings, and of complicity among local officials, police and militia, makes it seem more like organized ethnic cleansing than an ordinary tribal clash”

 

The constitution   established by the EPRDF allows some ethnic groups to have their own regions (Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, Somali, Gambella, Afar) Ethiopia’s more than 80 ethnic groups are demanding to have their own regional governments. In all of these regions people who are not considered not to belong originally from that particular area are being forcibly displaced.  Meskerem Abera explains in gruesome details of the slaughtering and torturing of many, recently in Southern Ethiopia.[iii]

 

Hundreds of years of tolerance and peaceful co-existence amongst the colorful diversity of Ethiopians is crumbling right in front of  PM Abiy who had come to power with a slogan of love and togetherness. These slogans are ringing hollow in the face of these brutalities.  There are chilling messages of death and destruction coming from many corners with pervasive disorder that threatens the survival of Ethiopia, as we know it today.

 

 

Below-average October-to-December ‘belg’ rains in Southern Ethiopia has reduced the availability of water and pasture and slowed the recovery of some herders, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). As a result, vulnerable populations in pastoral areas are expected to experience Crisis—IPC 3—levels of acute food insecurity through May, FEWS NET reports.

 

The February USAID food Security report gives a very gloomy picture for the coming months in Ethiopia:

 

“Insecurity throughout Ethiopia continues to prompt population displacement, generate humanitarian needs, and hinder relief organizations from delivering life-saving assistance. More than 80 percent of the 2.9 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) identified throughout the country have cited conflict as the primary driver of displacement. Humanitarian agencies are providing assistance to vulnerable populations as security conditions and other access constraints, such as poor infrastructure, permit.  Below-average October-to-December ‘belg’ rains in Southern Ethiopia has reduced the availability of water and pasture and slowed the recovery of some herders, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET).”

 

This is what is called complex emergency: the combination of natural (drought) and manmade disaster (conflict and forced displacement) This situation will further exasperate the already fragile security situation as millions more are displaced and the competition for scarce resources intensifies. Ethiopia is the second largest borrower from China next to Angola with 13.7 billion dollars in debt according to the 2018 report.  Moreover there are rumors that Ethiopia has defaulted payments of this loan,

 

“The intensifying repayment risks from the Ethiopian government’s debt reaching 59 percent of GDP is worrying investors,” China’s mission to the African Union in Addis Ababa said on its website in July. “It said that Chinese investment in the country was cooling and that the China Export and Credit Insurance Corp was reducing the scale of its investment there.”

Governor Yinager Dessie on his deliberation on the performance of the Central Bank to the Parliament Finance Standing Committee on 27 March 2019, has confirmed Ethiopia’s export earning is 1.64 billion while the import is 10.5 billion USD, which shows a deficit around 5000 percent. Even with huge import export deficit the country is suffering from shortage of basic essentials like medicine and raw material.  According to the Amharic weekly The ‘Reporter’ of March 31, the governor of the Central Bank stated that the foreign exchange reserve is entirely low and at this moment the country can only afford to import medicine and fuel only and that very cautiously.  He stated that the foreign exchange that the country has now comes from remittances, Ethiopian Airlines and foreign loans and grants. Unless the country gets more loans the country will have no capacity to do anything else he stated.  In other words the governor told the parliament the country is bankrupt.

With the wide spread insecurity and restrictions of movement and increasing loss of confidence over the state of the  nation,  investors are becoming reluctant to put their money in Ethiopia. The governor also stated that the 100-year-old Development Bank of Ethiopia is also near to bankruptcy. He stated, of the 46.17 billon Ethiopian birr it has loaned, 39.45 % is irrecoverable showing the extent of the corruption in the country.  He stated the bank has lost 344 million in the first 3 months of the current financial year. He concludes that the bank does not even have the capacity to litigate the matter and recover the money.

 

 The Jawar Phenomenon

 

PM Ably seems to have taken a calculated decision to play the ethnic card to perhaps appease the radicals within his party.    For certain, his ethnic base is fired up and their expectations are high.  His colleague Jawar Mohamed, another fiery demagogue who preaches ethnic and religious extremism has been invited from the USA, Minnesota State, where he was based to operate legally in Ethiopia.  Oromo Media Network (OMN) has millions of followers. Despite requests by millions of Ethiopians for the closure of this media out let the PM has never criticized the station let alone order its closure.

 

Abiy has allowed Jawar Mohamed, the CEO, OMN legally registered in Ethiopia to spread ethnic and religiously motivated hate speech. PM Abiy’s tolerance of Jawar is perplexing. Giving unchecked political power to extremists like Jawar can only further exacerbate the already tense political environment. Some political observers suspect that there is either an explicit or implicit understanding between the PM and Jawar. If that is the case, PM Abiy is allowing Jawar’s extreme voice to influence the youth, particularly in the Oromo region. In any other country Jawar would have ended up in prison and prosecuted for crimes of incitements and possibly for terrorism.

 

As I wrote in an earlier article, OMN reminds me of Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM), the hate radio that was instrumental in the Rwandan Genocide. “It’s stated aim was “to create harmonious development in Rwandese society” but nothing could have been further from the truth. It was set up and financed by Hutu extremists to prepare the people of Rwanda for genocide by demonizing the Tutsi and encouraging hate and violence. Recognized the danger and asked for international help in shutting down the broadcast.  But it was impossible to persuade Western diplomats to take it seriously. They dismissed the station as a joke” General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian commander of the UN peacekeeping operation in Rwanda at the time of the genocide, said: “Simply jamming [the] broadcasts and replacing them with messages of peace and reconciliation would have had a significant impact on the course of events.” His advice was ignored and the UN and the international community regrets with great humility and embarrassment that, had it acted earlier the genocide would probably have not taken place. There is a red line between freedom of expression and hate speech, oratory and incitement. It is well established in the international legal instruments.

 

Jawar has been caught on tape telling his crowd threatening Christians. Like the ‘interhamway’of Rwanda, Jawar has recruited young Oromo’s who call themselves “Querros’ to do the dirty work of killing, plundering and creating an atmosphere of fear in the nation. One Ethiopian Mekuria  writes on ECDF website:

 

“The image of Querro youngsters brandishing machetes and other homemade weapons at was a pitiful sight to see. It was reminiscent more of the notorious Boko Haram than the peaceful youngsters with their arms crossed over their heads in protest. That Ethiopians had come to love and appreciate. Querro youngsters are Ethiopian who desire better than being reduced to doing the dirty work of others and getting tarnished in the process. They have camp Jawar to thank for it “

 

Thousands of Ethiopians have signed a petition to the Minnesota attorney General and US attorney general to ‘ban OMN media for inciting ethnic violence in Ethiopia and hold its director Jawar Mohamed responsible”

 

Ethiopians are noticeably weary of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government for failing to control widespread anarchism which seem to emanate from dual power exercised in the country since he became the prime minister of Ethiopia.  The ‘Querro’ movement led by Jawar Mohammed is asserting de facto power and disrupting government power in different parts of Ethiopia at will.

 

 

 

The Way Forward

 

There is no way out of this looming tragedy without bold, well-considered decisions. There will be severe consequences to these decisions but it is better to manage the consequences of the right and reasonable decisions, which have the support of the majority than to manage a civil war and genocide.  PM Abiy  did not realize that people were getting tired with his lectures on love and ‘medemer’, his slogan, which means togetherness. Some people say that his preaching on love and ‘medemer’ were all about optics; that it was ploy to lure people to his side.  At times he seems not to be in the real world where love and ‘medemer’   cannot be a policy of governing. In political realism nation states are motivated by national interest (the needs of the people). Such abstract moral values can be used to reinforce the pursuit of national interests but they cannot be policies.  These are    mythical concepts and slogans that are not in the domain of real politics. These are in the domain of our spiritual leaders.   Political leaders have to be pragmatic. The theory that a leader develops must be feasible and applicable. Pragmatism focuses on logic and reason and not abstract ideas.  What are needed are bold decisions. PM should start by pulling himself out of ethnic politics and set an example and establish an Ethiopian agenda. It will not be an easy decision but is a necessary one. That is the problme of leaders who assume power in time of crisis.

 

PM Abiy has promised general election one year from now. It is generally accepted that elections cannot take place under this situation. Even if it were possible to conduct elections under this same constitution, which the people have fought for decades to remove, it will not solve the complex problem of Ethiopia.

 

Many Ethiopians fear that they have no options. There are options. People should not feel helpless. Options are born out of free open dialogue and discussions and this should start before it is too late. Non-democratic or totalitarian governments like the one in place in Ethiopia, perpetuate fear and insecurity to make people believe that there are no other options except the status quo. In such countries there are no readily available options. Such has been the history of Ethiopia and so many other countries. But that is no reason for not freely and openly discussing the problems in a very transparent manner.  Options are born out of such discussions. The institutions of civil society are the critical factors in making this possible. Civil society and free press have to campaign to create such forums and present options to the critical situation in Ethiopia.

 

Ethiopia needs a leader who campaigns for Ethiopian unity and ‘Ethiopiawinet’ Ethiopia needs a bold, courageous, imaginative and transparent president with humility.  Ably came to power with simple solutions to the complex problems of Ethiopia.  The rebellion over the last few years that cost the lives of many was all about transition to democracy. Ably has been given the chance through an overwhelming support unprecedented in Ethiopian history. He has failed to use this universal support to implement an agenda that rejects extremism and ethnic politics.

The problem of Ethiopia was and is complex and needs a leader with a broad agenda, wisdom and the capacity and willingness to consult, dialogue and vigorously campaign for the values that binds the people of Ethiopia.  It needs a leader that listens not one that lectures. It needs a leader who can have a pool of experts around him/her, people of all ages and expertise, people who can challenge him/her and a leader willing to learn. The PM wants to keep the constitution and the parliament and essentially keep the status quo. He  promised to make some changes to the constitution after election. But that is not what the people want. They want a new constitution and election in accordance with a new constitution prepared and approved by the people, not vice versa as happened before under PM Meles Zenawi.  PM Abiy wants to keep the constitution because that is the position of his party. Changing the constitution would most probably result in the abolishing of ethnic federalism, which his party does not want.  PM Abiy cannot serve two agendas, his ethnic based party (ODP) and the Ethiopian agenda. That is where wisdom and courage come to play in making the hard choices, in the interest of peace and stability.

 

That is why the first and most palatable choice for the country is to for PM Abiy to resign and the EPRDF to select a leader who is non Oromo and non-Amhara and lead the country to transition. If PM Abiy wants to save himself and the country the best exit for him is this option. This will require a sober assessment of the situation and the consequences of not doing so.  If PM Abiy and ODP refuse to accept this option, the PM can still go for a second option which I outlined in the road map I presented at the 7th Vision Ethiopia conference last December in Addis Abeba. This requires the PM to abolish the constitution, dissolve parliament and lead a transitional government by decree. This will require from him   to abandon the ethnic agenda, take a unifying agenda, and lead the transition through a road map established, not by him, but by a newly elected transitional peoples’ assembly.  These are bold moves and will require a lot of backdoor negotiations and open discussions with ethnic leaders and the public.

 

If this cannot be done, the last resort is to demand the establishment of a transitional government and election under the auspices of the AU, the UN and the international community and hope that the international community will pressure the parties to this dispute to cooperate, knowing fully well the consequences of civil war in the country.

 

Conclusion

 

PM Abiy Ahmed was in Rwanda last week on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. I hope that he gets more aware of the consequences of a hate filled political environment like there was in Rwanda just before the genocide of a million Rwandese. I was there 25 years ago.  It was the most sobering and most agonizing experience of my life. I learnt my lessons. I hope PM Ahmed does come back with lessons learnt. He was there as a UN peacekeeper when he was probably in his early twenties.  He might have been too young or too busy with soldiering to learn about the root causes of the genocide. Now that he has, people expect from him drastic decisions to prevent Ethiopia from such a gruesome experience.  That was what President Paul Kagame did. He took control of the country by making the necessary decisions to prevent further chaos and genocide. His measures were unpopular in some quarters but he has made Rwanda become one of the shining examples of success after a traumatic experience. He was a tough leader, the kind of leader that the situation needed. He had equally capable people and committed people around him.

 

The Rwandan genocide was preventable. It was not the result of an uncontrolled hate and rage. It was neither the wrath of God. Like in Ethiopia it was the result of the deliberate choice of the elites who preached hate, fear and division to keep them in power.  Human Rights Watch of 2017 says:

 

 

“They seized control of the state and used its machinery and its authority to carry out the slaughter. Like the organizers, the killers who executed the genocide were not demons no automatons responding to ineluctable forces. They were people who chose to do evil. … These few power holders transformed the strategy of ethnic division into genocide. Tens of thousands, swayed by fear, hatred, or hope of profit, made the choice quickly and easily. They were the first to kill, rape, rob and destroy. They attacked Tutsi frequently and until the very end, without doubt or remorse. Many made their victims suffer horribly and enjoyed doing so.”

 

The Rwandan genocide forced the world to recognize the potential of people to commit genocide even after the world unanimously declared loud and clear ‘Never Again’ after the holocaust during the Second World War.  Leaders have enormous responsibilities during these fragile times in Ethiopia. They need more political wisdom and a huge sense of responsibility.

 

I was one those who wrote an article calling upon the people of Ethiopia to Rally Around  Prime Minister Abiy. Like many people, after closely looking at the situation I found it necessary to critique the polices of the PM over the last one year. It is time to speak out. I wrote then, May 31, 2018, in most Ethiopian web sites:

 

“In the end success will depend on the crossing of a fear barrier by Dr. Ably and the people around him and his faith in the Ethiopian people. The Ethiopian people have crossed that fear. The question now is ‘Can PM Ably and his team cross that fear and take the bold steps towards democratic transition? If he fails he has no one to blame except himself. The majority of the people are more united than ever and they will not hesitate to continue the struggle for a final and lasting outcome.”

END

*Dawit Wolde Giorgis is a Visiting Scholar at Boston University,  African Studies Center

14 https://addisstandard.com/opinion-putting-humpty-dumpty-together-again-the-restoration-of-eprd

[iii] Meskererm Abera, Sidama Poltics, Debub ( Southern Regio)Politics , March 28,2018

19 Responses to Ethiopia: A Country on the Brinks

  1. It is so painful to read this article and very hard to accept what our beloved country is heading to after the hope and the excitement our people had just a year ago.

    Avatar for Abraham

    Abraham
    April 9, 2019 at 12:11 am
    Reply

  2. Major Dawit,

    What an excellent analysis. Few of us who have doubts from the beginning wrote essentially the people’s struggle is hijacked and invited the wrath of Abiy’s supporters. Now after a year people are biting the hard truth indeed they were robbed off the fruits of their struggle.

    I am so glad a person of your stature, experience and love for the country to come out boldly and call for serious measures to spare our country from collapse. I call upon all intellectuals to come out and tell the truth. They know where we are heading but fir them to play sycophant for Abiy and his government is a travesty and a treason.

    Yet, Major Dawit, keep writing and keep challenging and exposing.

    Avatar for zekarias

    zekarias
    April 9, 2019 at 12:22 am
    Reply

  3. The ultranationalists of the Amahara like Dawit Woldegeorgies are always sick. Their mind setup is based on blaming others for the problems they have created. Dawit tried to sell the problems which have been created by the members of the National Movement of the Amahara (NAMA) as if it was caused by external forces. 

    For all these chaos are only the racist  neo- nazist organization NAMA and its associates responsible. The stubbornness and arrogance of these bunch of individuals will be punished soon all over Ethiopia.

    Here are the slogans of the neo-nazist organization NAMA, just to mention a few:

    – The Amahara  people will be back to its superiority!
    – Most part of Oromia belongs to  the Amahara people 
    – Amahara people must be worshiped as a creator of Ethiopia.
    – The Shewa Oromoo are not Oromo, they are Oromizied Amhara.
    – The Amahara are the best nation in the world.
    – All peoples in Amhara region (Oromo, Agawo, Kimanti, Wayito and Argoba) are Amahara weather they like it or not.
    – Amaharanism is like sprite.  Ever kids in Ethiopia goes to school, in order to behave like Amhara or to become Amhara.

    With such illusions they try to mislead the Amahara people. Their contempt for the other peoples of Ethiopia is enormous.

    Dawit and his associates are crying loudly, because they are afraid of the rebirth of Ethiopia as a brand new democratic multinational republic country. They are dreaming to bring back the era of Menelik, so that he and his associates can scramble for Oromia again. The ultranationalists of the Amahara claim time and again that the existence of Ethiopia will be vanished as country, if the Amharic speakers are not dominantly in frontlines in all sectors. But this is a void slogan of the ultra nationalists. The malicious politics of the hatemongers will not work in the new Ethiopia any more. The scramble for Oromia like the Menilik’s era is no more possible. No more business as usual.

    Let me make it clear: The arrogance and stubbornness of the ultranationalists will not last long. They can bring out whatever they have in their backward and corrupted stores. This time is not like the era of Menelik. Every ethnic group knows its rights and responsibilities.

    The politics of one language, one culture and a single nation cannot be accepted any more in Ethiopia. Don’t forget that such demands have no room in today’s Ethiopian politics. But now temporally you can make noise here and there. That is all what you can do right now.

    De-Amharanisation of the whole Ethiopian politics is indispensable and absolutely necessary in order to reform and reshape Ethiopia as a country of multinational state. The politics of one language, one culture  and a single nation cannot be accepted any more. Also there is no Ethiopian identity as some idiotic individuals try preach us those like the chameleon Ermias Legesse. It is a fake identity and ridiculous. Dissociating Ethiopia from the politics of Menilik is indispensable for emancipation of all  the nations and natinalitis in Ethiopia.

    Dawit! PM Abiy will not resigned! You can keep on your barking like a mad dog during the rest of your life. Your cry is just a sign of desperation and hopelessness.

     

    Avatar for Gamadaa

    Gamadaa
    April 9, 2019 at 2:34 am
    Reply

    • Obbo Gamada:

      You brought up very interesting material regarding an Organization called NAMA. I assume the organization is somehow affiliated with ethnic politics. The phrases you listed as follows were allegedly told by NAMA:

      – The Amahara people will be back to its superiority!
      – Most part of Oromia belongs to the Amahara people
      – Amahara people must be worshiped as a creator of Ethiopia.
      – The Shewa Oromoo are not Oromo, they are Oromizied Amhara.
      – The Amahara are the best nation in the world.
      – All peoples in Amhara region (Oromo, Agawo, Kimanti, Wayito and Argoba) are Amahara weather they like it or not.
      – Amaharanism is like sprite. Ever kids in Ethiopia goes to school, in order to behave like Amhara or to become Amhara.

      I am not disputing your claim but I and most of us here would appreciate it very much if you had attached a link that corroborates your claim. If they really said that it is a blunder of biblical proportions. Everyone should be saying ‘where did this come from?’ I would also like you to give me some more insights about the group. Do you have the backgrounds of its leaders and when was it established? Are they underground or officially registered group? I tried to google the name and all I am getting is some agricultural marketing association and other business settings. When and where did they say that? It is an extremely dangerous group if its leaders really said and believe in all that.

      Keep plugging away countryman!!!

      Avatar for Ittu Aba Farda

      Ittu Aba Farda
      April 10, 2019 at 10:06 pm
      Reply

    • Ato Gamada,

      I have been following the ethio politics for quite some time. As an Oromo, let me say something in delusional of Oromo ultra nationalist among Oromos. It is funny how you talk about Amara. Think about it, OLF has been organized for years to come to power more than being ultra nationalist that is it has enetered Ethiopia with TPLF ethnic cleansing of Ethiopians. Where were you then? Is it ok to kill people who are defenseless? Do you know that this is terrorism to kill people who are not armed? You have been putting colleagues Shabia (your father) and TPLF and marched anti Ethiopianism for many years now. The same ethnic groups you are claiming opressed you, you are now acting as TPLF, puttting only Oromo-only systems in Ethiopia that will continue to ethnically clease people all over Ethiopia. Are you waking up? OLf is not only killing Amaras, it is killing the same kin Oromo the Gedo. You can’t get ultranationalist than that. ABN being organized is the only way to defend Amaras, it has been ethnically cleansed at least 27 years. Where were you when OMN has been preaching anti-ethiopianism, which is aimng at the entire ethnic people except Oromo. Is that okay?

      Avatar for esey

      esey
      April 11, 2019 at 10:21 pm
      Reply

  4. I think individuals like Jawar seem to be playing roles that can take the already fragile situation to a better or a direr environment. I honestly believe that these individuals are perplexing to others and at the same time perplexed about themselves because the protests that bore the current regime have presented them with a reality they are not well equipped to play all positive roles. Such so-called former ‘activists’ seem not being sure what their new roles should be given the fact that regime sponsored prosecution is no more. They seem to reminisce the good old days of the pre-2018 era. Then they used to say anything to feed on the raw emotions of the deprived. They had to work very hard and go to the extreme to prove to others that they are more of a given ethnic group than others around them or than others who they target to rally around them. Such individuals exist in any political environment. Don’t we have a problem finding a moderate conservative that come from a minority group? We saw a black man calling the former President Obama a Nazi. Such individuals suffer from an acute spell of identity crisis. They are always in doubt how others will take or see them. They are always in a bad mood and talk in pitched up emotion. They worry that someone else will come out of the blue moon and ‘steal’ away the ‘aura’ they are basking in now. They cannot be changed. My suggestion is to let them run their course. There are just too many level headed citizens in every ethnic group of the old country.

    But it is a different story about those who were having a fit to carve out a territory by yanking away a given ethnic group from their centuries old neighbors. I knew these individuals going back for decades. They chose the violent ways to wedge hostility between harmonious neighbors. They are gripped with hatred for others. They are hell bent to start ethnic mayhem even an all out war between the two noble groups of people. They are itching to see such destructive war to rage so they can say ‘I told you so’ to the blood stained citizens. That was why they tried to kill this young and visionary prime minister barely three months into the office. These are not ‘freedom’ fighters at all since it is all a proven fact that no Oromo will be ‘free’ by fighting alone or without the participation all of his/her neighbors. No Amhara will see ‘freedom’ daylight by fighting alone and hence with the alienation of others. If someone thinks so, he/she is not a ‘freedom’ fighter but a bona fide and deadly bigot. I’ve said this for ages: No Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Afar, Tigray, Sidama, Gambela or any other ethnic group will ever be able to get to the that ‘Promised Land’ where the rights of the individual are protected by or no one is allowed to be above the law of the land by fighting all alone with wholesale blame of others. And I have been proven so right!!! Just look at what led to the current governance. It was not that unselfish Amhara youth alone that created it by his so sacred life. It was not that unselfish Oromo youth alone that led us here by his so sacred life. Neither was that sacrificed Somali, Afar nor any other ethnic youth!!! But it was the result of the sacrifice of all. Now bigots would like to throw numbers at me now. But that would be futile because for me and should be for all of us that one Allah intricately created life is too many. It is extremely important to call these ethnic ‘mongers’ for who they are, bigots!!! I call upon those who are in the profession of journalism to put these bigots on the spot. You should not worry about what they gonna call you just because to them you are always who they think you are. A bigot in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and the Carolinas or any other state will never vote for a man of color as long as he remains a bigot. Such individuals have never changed and are showing telltale signs that they will never change. So don’t be shy asking them tough questions. Tell them that what they are telling their followers are from the lines of the White Citizens Council, Silver Dollar Group or The Grand Wizard of the KKK!!! They are just as bigots or even worse!!!

    Avatar for Ittu Aba Farda

    Ittu Aba Farda
    April 9, 2019 at 2:38 am
    Reply

  5. Very enlightening, very clear piece from a seasoned expert in security. State of emergency is the first and immediate step. Then the PM should surround himself with wise and resolute people not with sycophants to implement the advice from Dawit Woldgiorgis. Otherwise, the nightmare is not far!!

    Avatar for abbabula dande

    abbabula dande
    April 9, 2019 at 3:58 am
    Reply

  6. There is problem with our sight as well as insight. Look 👀
    There was NEVER REAL CHANGE without uprooting TPLF, OLF and EPDRF. So the REFORMIST Abiy did phenomenal things in 12 months. It was an euphoric-pain-relief moment. – Now reality sinks and All Players are loose cannons since the product of the acronyms are anchored and have to be eradicated for the Abiy ship to sail in still waters. That is why there is the metaphor of the sinking ship that is sinking with everybody on board.
    Plus the comparisons cited by Dawit W. G are too far outstretched and not descriptive of Ethiopia’s realty – with its zero – democratic institutions and obstinate population that far exceeds the grievances they bestowed on Moses in the Wilderness for forty years. Ref: Exodus.
    Solution is uprooting the Evils.
    By any means necessary!!!!!!
    ETHIOPIA LOVE ❤️ IT OR LEAVE IT!!!

    Avatar for Imnet

    Imnet
    April 9, 2019 at 5:26 am
    Reply

  7. The most powerful army of Ethiopia which went to Somalia with UN mission now is unable to keep peace within.
    The army of Ethiopia doesn’t function for birr, it wants dollars. Unless UN pays the Ethiopian army dollars they are not willing to do their duties.
    The diaspora fills the Ethiopian cities with luxury lifestyle while on vacation in Ethiopia and the long serving military have to compete with the diasporas lifestyle to get some sort of recognition, that is why the military wants dollars. Diasporas need to stop flashing their dollar making others feel Inferior. Dollar is not a measure of a person.

    Avatar for Anteneh

    Anteneh
    April 9, 2019 at 7:10 am
    Reply

  8. Shaleka,
    Thank you for the outstanding analysis of the current socio political and economic situation of Ethippia.
    Since the prime minister took power hundreds or may be thousands perished and millions displaced.
    I absolutely agree that a decisive measure is needed to save the sinking ship, and It is a no brainer.
    The options you have stipulated and advised Dr Abiy, actually is a service for him he can build on his thoughts for a rational decisions, though I am not sure of his guts to take a drastic measure. But he needs to be brave and have the courage for the sake of saving a Nation.
    Shaleka! May be if you expand on your writing the logistics and challenges of the options you proposed as solutions would be a plus .

    Avatar for Lesan

    Lesan
    April 9, 2019 at 3:45 pm
    Reply

  9. Three months ago Major Dawit puts forward an insane suggestion that Abiy ‘abolish the constitution, dissolve parliament and lead a transitional government by decree’. Today he puts forward an equally insane suggestion claiming’ the first and most palatable choice for the country is to for PM Abiy to resign…’
    Thank goodness Abiy ignored the first suggestion as he will do the same with the new one!!

    Avatar for A. Birhanu

    A. Birhanu
    April 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm
    Reply

  10. “This requires the PM to abolish the constitution, dissolve parliament and lead a transitional government by decree.” WHAT KIND OF ADVISE IS THIS?!!

    Mr.Dawit has good brain but bad heart. That’s all that i can say. I admire his experience and evidence based arguement but his intention and motivations are childish.

    Mr Dawit has served Ethiopia with two regimes and brought no fruit. You dont have morale to belittle the bright and charismatic leader.

    Avatar for Mr Truth

    Mr Truth
    April 9, 2019 at 5:31 pm
    Reply

  11. To suspend the constitution, close the parliament and go back to rule by martial law would be uncalled for this time. That country has enough of that. Extra care should be taken in making remarks about Jawar so it does not sound personal. I am not sure what the young PM really thinks about the ‘activist’. I think the PM and the Oromia region officials have a good grip about all other so-called activists who are pulling the people in all directions. What denies me sleep is the emergence of a huge power vacuum in that vast region of Oromia that may present an opportunity for extremists like the offshoots of Wahhabis to come in and wreak havoc. It seems that none of the players be it the ‘activists’, any of the opposition parties and current government officials have the capabilities to pacify the country without the use of force. Use of force is not or cannot be the option. This environment may be harbinger of what to come. The Wahhabis have been salivating at the sight of that gem of the colored for a long, long time. In presence of a power vacuum they will come in there and buy every ‘activist’ they can put their hands on. They should have a good background about every ethnic activist and leader of a ‘liberation’ front. Those scourges of the Middle East have an extensive experience how to woo such individuals from the Horn. They have done very successfully in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. They have seen some of them wandering around in their cities during pilgrimage. They might even have a conversation with them during such trips. The Wahhabis have billions of hard and cool US dollars in their deep pockets. They like what they are seeing in the old country. Their durboobas are going at full tilt. That has been my nightmare for a while. That is why I take refuge in my prayers. May The Almighty Our Creator Save Our Glorious People!!!!!

    Avatar for Ittu Aba Farda

    Ittu Aba Farda
    April 10, 2019 at 2:19 am
    Reply

  12. He is pining for Minilik’s Gabbar system and trying to bring it back.Mr. Dawit accuses the Oromo elites are the ones for the current social and political problems.
    He is also cursing the current federal system and calling it to be revoked.

    He is a clueless person and has no knowledge of the reality on the ground.Any attempt to undo the ethnic federalism will a serious consequences.

    Avatar for Oumar

    Oumar
    April 10, 2019 at 3:52 am
    Reply

  13. Ye Dargu Shalaka, architect of the Red Terror?
    Your dream of Amhara superiority has evaporated for ever. Ask every ethnic group in the south if they would give up the federal autonomy that they earned with their blood. NONE of them would give up. You continue to heehaw like a jackass. By the way, how about your ETHSAT? Does it preach the gospel? Doesn’t it spit venom every day inciting the Amhara against the Oromo? Your day is over. You had your chance and gone for ever like your fart never to come back again.

    Avatar for James Smith

    James Smith
    April 10, 2019 at 9:21 pm
    Reply

  14. PM Abiy is the only to hold us together
    =========
    A dergue ሻለቃ named Dawit Woldeegiorgis has written an inflammatory, fear appealing and one-sided negative article and I observed widely circulated on digital space. He completely denied positive changes we have witnessed as the nation and condemned atrocities and perceived wrongs selectively capitalizing on what he thought will attack Oromos in general and activists, politicians, and officeholders in particular. That is why he was crying Abiy, Jawar, Takele, OMN, etc completely ignoring knowingly those on other sides. A one-sided, blind and ethnically biased comment I have ever seen! These type of our friends think that, toppling Abiy by any means and change government as a solution to old and recent political developments. This includes calling PM Abiy for resignation. You wish- dergue These people may believe that they will keep the country together by iron fist then after. They are very accomplished deficient of memory that even a better organized and experienced TPLF couldn’t press further by the iron fist. ሻለቃው kind of daydreamers is also devoid of understanding that, if Abiy left office(God forbid), and the next morning there will be no country called Ethiopia and no one will bow down and being ruled by force be it, anyone. Leave alone your desire for PM seat, sitting on your own stool at your home will be difficult at that time. Like it or not Ethiopians’ option at this particular time is only to support the ongoing reform or at least not to hinder it. Abiy will remain as the only viable option and no negotiation, desire or wishes otherwise up to the election to come, probably in the next five years.

    Avatar for chala

    chala
    April 11, 2019 at 1:44 pm
    Reply

  15. PHOTO-2019-03-12-10-25-05.jpg

    Folks think before you ink! Otherwise you’ll sink.
    Visualize Peace and not JaWarmongering!l
    Ethiopia is not for sale to Wahhabism nor narrow nationalism.

    Avatar for Imnet

    Imnet
    April 13, 2019 at 1:37 am
    Reply

  16. Dear Ato Dawit : thanks for the detail explanation ; But I am wondering why you have not explained to what extent Westerns have been involved in our internal matter to distablized the country ?`

    since as long as I know it is the US who has brought Abyi to Power ; and even the Peace deal with Asemera and Addis , through UAE and Saudi, which still does not have any binding document, was initated by the USA as she needs to Control the Horn of Africa; as there comes a military treat to control the stragic place from Iran and China.

    So in my view Abyi has to established a border line with the Western as the more they involved in our matters , the worse it will be …

    Is Jwar mohammed alone or an agent of USA ? I do not know why we lacks to see things in global prepectives

    Avatar for Merso Wendeme Agegne ( Stockholm )

    Merso Wendeme Agegne ( Stockholm )
    April 13, 2019 at 6:31 am
    Reply

  17. The fake project “Ethiopia” is failing in front of us. Menelik’s view of Greater Ethiopia was based on Amahara colonizing other nationalities and living on their backs as a parasite!
    Today, that ill conceived projec help created and natured by western countries is in crizes because other communities like OROMO, Somalis, and others will no longer accept to be treated as second class citizens.
    It is all clear, for this country to to exist, that the rights of all it’s citizens have to be restored equally.

    Avatar for Jama

    Jama
    October 22, 2019 at 11:37 pm
    Reply

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