Reality 2020

Filed under: Opinion & Analysis |

Getaneh K Yismaw

As we begin the new year and third decade of the 21st century, here are some musings on Ethiopia.

Government Propaganda

Watching government propaganda media such as ETV, FANA, Walta or other servile outlets and/or some motivational speakers who frequent the grounds of Menelik II Palace, or ESAT, one would think Ethiopia has, in fact, become utopia: on fast track transition to democracy (just don’t ask details) —where its current government is the best thing that happened to it, and that prosperity–powered by Prosperity Gospel (a strand of US Protestantism), is just around the corner—we just need to water it with a firehose, of course with Canon Camera crew in tow, you know.

Election is four months away and Prosperity Party, without holding a general meeting and electing its leaders, has been recognized and certified as legit—curtesy of Birtukan Mediqsa lead Election Board. Hooray!

 

Stubborn Reality

The reputable and independent Crisis Group has put Ethiopia as one of top 3 countries in the world to watch for major conflict and instability—correctly so. Ethnic political inferno—just on about all issues—where hatred is medium of currency, is at its fever pitch, ready to unleash mayhem (already saw its dry in the form of #October2019Massacre as well as the Burrayyo massacre a year prior, both in Oromo region). Universities are nonfunctional, especially more so those in so called Oromo Region. Thousands of Amhara student have been forced to flee for their lives, dropping out of classes and headed to their families—after violence and warning from Qeerroo; several students have been murdered across several Universities. Classes have been suspended many times across many of them. Some Universities are closed altogether and it’s not even news anymore. Just in the last few days Wollega and Dire Dawa University have shutdown altogether (just in the last two days, 14 students died from a car crash in route to their families from Wollega Universtiy).  Lawlessness, crimes and impunity have never been this high—ever.

Yet the Abiy government has decided to hold election. How in the world can one hold legitimate election in Oromo region (and elsewhere) where road blocks are just common events?

 

(Asymmetrical) Region of Special Privilege and Lawlessness

Oromo Region has been granted both de facto lawlessness and special privilege. Since PM Abiy came to power, this region has been increasing its military (camouflaged as Police or Special Force—but it’s just ethnic military force whose loyalty is not to enforce the law equally but to discriminate against non-Oromos. Given the false grievance narrative of Amhara hatred which is the currency of Oromo extremists, this growing armed force, at the hands of extremists like Shemelis Abdissa, may conduct ethnic cleansing and worse. Just in the last few days, the Oromo regional govt has graduated thousands of military forces—with North Korea style parade and pomp—increasing its ethnic para-military ranks to tens of thousands. While Amhara Region was not permitted to do the same (and the person who’s leading the training in Amhara region was immediately singled out for elimination long before the June incident that left the region with leadership void).

In Oromo region, we have seen all kinds of gruesome crimes and displacements are being carried out by organized and hierarchical Qeerroo—with impunity. Targeted assassinations have become common. Attacks on Orthodox Churches and its believers have become common. Amharas are openly persecuted. These crimes are met by deafening silence by PM Abiy and almost all Oromo politicians (contrast that with a torrent of condemnation if anything slightest thing happens in the so-called Amhara region).

Any Non-Oromo Political party cannot travel or hold a public meeting let alone to campaign for election. Even the docile EZEMA, whose leader gushes loyalty and admiration for PM Abiy and his government, is not permitted to hold meetings.

 

The Economy

The Economy is seriously unbalanced with massive Forex shortage, high unemployment and high inflation and burdened with increasingly larger level of foreign debt that the country has difficulty servicing it. With IMF and WB new approved loans comes likely serious of preconditions: flexible exchange rate—which is inflationary without any of the benefits (the minuscule Ethiopian export sector doesn’t really respond to exchange rate fluctuations)—may likely add misery to those who are already struggling, among other conditions, like austerity in the form of price increase and service cuts, that we don’t know yet.

 

No Opposition

With all the hellish situations discussed above, one would think there should be an organized opposition to credibly articulate against the government of PM Abiy. But, no! At this point, there is no credivle and organized pan-Ethiopian opposition force to be had. EZEMA’s whole strategy is blind faith-based: believing Abiy its leader Dr Berhanu Nega just confirmed for the umpteenth time in recent days that his whole strategy is “believing Abiy”, despite his party is unofficially but practically banned to operate in PM Abiy’s home region.

EZEMA’s leader reminds me the veteran political fixture Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Russsia who runs for president only to defend, praise and support Putin’s re-elections. He has willingly suspended reality and has assumed out the real issue of the Region of Lawlessness and special privilege.

By misleading, at least a portion of the public, into believing some workable transition is in order, when the federal government even can’t maintain minimum law and order, EZEMA has become ancillary to Oromo Nationalists’ dystopian power projection and domination, instead of a check on them.

TPLF that lost power in Addis Ababa, has taken Tigray as de facto confederation state –out of the reach of the Federal government. TPLF is licking its wounds and, at times, contemplating to unleash war but afraid of an old dog to its north.

Assassinations, criminal hostage taking, and organized robberies are becoming daily occurrences—even in Addis Ababa, displacements are becoming common, Universities are either being closed or regular suspending their normal operations while scores of students are assassinated—all of which constitutes failed-state status—where PM Abiys government is unable to fulfill its primary responsibility to protect the people’s safety. How can a sane mind think credible election is possible in this atmosphere?

 

The Amhara Question

Despite ant-Amhara narrative has been government ideology for three decades and preached for two decades, the able and capable Amhara elite–save a handful few who are trying—and are clearly able to see through these façades, are keeping quiet, safe and on the sidelines. As the country faces existential threat and the lives of millions is at stake, apathy, indifference and inability to see beyond themselves by many capable people, is the most troubling. To some extent, these people are morally inadequate for abandoning their people.

The corollary to this apathy is that many who are trying to advocate for Amhara in politics and media are, at best, 3rd rate imbeciles and chopped livers who are being taken for cleaners by those whose existence is Amhara hatred. Some young social media activists who are trying to play as opinion makers in Diaspora based Satellite media are one who should take ESL classes and do some basic readings at community colleges but are audacious enough to present themselves as journalists. ADP (ANDM) is safely back to its former servile role and just comfortable playing secondary role.

The state of Amhara security, political and economic situation is worse than you can possibly imagine, even when you take account of the fact that it is worse than you imagine possible (to borrow a quip from a dismal scientist).

I hope this status is changed in the new year before the tipping point is crossed.

 

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4 Responses to Reality 2020

  1. What election? A phony election mayl be held as usual just only to give legitmacy to Abiy.The Global Oligarchy has just already elected and installed Abiy and has awarded him nobel.Period

    Florida
    January 3, 2020 at 12:22 am
    Reply

  2. Oromia will prosper and Tigrai will prosper since both states got self-will determination to do whatever even it means doing things that are against accepted civilized society’s norms.

    Amara region is under slow but full military assault starting from when Asaminew , Ambachew and the rest were ousted from power by military assault so it is highly unlikely any mentionable positive Prosperity will come to Amara except few industries that might that pop up following the GERD dam completion.

    The rest of Ethiopia is watching carefully every move the Pente PM protestant who protests against the present reality claiming to be interested in concentrating on decades in the future. In the meantime the suicide rate among the youth in Ethiopia had reached an all-time high in 2019 surpassing the 2006 record by hundreds.

    Debbie
    January 3, 2020 at 2:02 am
    Reply

  3. I think PM Abiy is the best we have.

    Berhanu and Andagarchew’s party was chased out of some places with machine gun fire as well. The pictures with the faces covered but the loaded guns in hand are still on internet. It is not just Oromo where Ethiopian parties can’t function and that incident was a bad example. There is EZEMA and we can have another one but there is still the same problem. Will the new party be able to do what EZEMA couldn’t? Confronting ABIY’s gov’t now when it has so many things to worry about, is it wise?

    30 billion USD of the borrowed money has gone to TPLF bosses. And they are using that money to make Ethiopians kill each other.

    Berhanu came with an org that the diaspora gave money to which is transferred to EZEMA. It is now being used for civilian purposes. I think most Ethiopians still trust Abiy. Abiy being Oromo and Berhanu being a Gurage is not a problem at all. It is a blessing in disguise. When the dust settles we’ll all be proud how Ethiopians clapped at their speeches and followed them because they were Ethiopians.

    I remember one discredited talkative guy whose political career was dead before he joined Bereket Simon as ‘opposition’ in the dying days of TPLF desperately trying to give TPLF another life line. That guy is FARA but still thinks he can keep fooling people. And why not? He got TPLF’s backing and their money and I won’t be surprised if some ‘AMHARA’ won’t be fooled by him again for the ampteenth time

    FIYEL BEGIRGIR ENATUN YISERIR

    Ibro
    January 4, 2020 at 1:21 am
    Reply

  4. When it comes down to it we get the big piece of the pie as we always do , we are not diasporas. We are world-class Ethiopians that are in finance that generated 90+ Billions USD to TPLF in the last 28 years.

    Meles Zenawi called those Ethiopians that don’t support him diasporas. If you support him he pretends you are some other world-class human not diaspora.
    Meles called us those that work/ prostitute ourselves like Monica lewensky and Bill Clinton in world Bank IMF anyday all-day who support TPLF money monger world-class not diasporas, definitely not diasporas, regardless we those that worked in Britton Woods are the once that funded Meles Zenawi since he convinced the whole world TPLF held all Ethiopia hostage for ransom we paid him and we were able to benefit in the meantime with salaries so up there paid to us from Bretton Woods which they wouldn’t gave paid us otherwise even if we prostituted ,Meles was the P I M P we all hoped for NGO UN etc workers know it. Now I am retired I tell all you don’t call yourselves diasporas because even EPRDF changed its name call yourself the “not prostitutes” or something similar. Ethiopians working to Bretton Woods are world class prostitute’s and we are proud of it each secind even after retirement.

    Beaberq
    January 5, 2020 at 12:02 am
    Reply

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