May 02, 2023
Authors’ Note: Even though Abiy hates me and has blocked me on Twitter for wishing him a Happy Easter, I still genuinely hope for his success. Despite my admiration for his heart of gold and my disappointment in his failure to defend the Amhara people from slaughter, I love the various infrastructures he has inspired to develop and believe that Ethiopia needs his leadership. I support the integration of regional Special Forces into the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and strongly object to the propaganda claiming that he called for mass atrocities against the Amhara people.
This article is an urgent wake-up call for Abiy. He must act now to provide safety and security for all Ethiopians, regardless of their ethnicity. His distorted view of the issues and threats of using excessive force against his government officials have caused him to lose the trust of millions of Ethiopians. Despite showing signs of becoming Ethiopia’s next tyrant, I still support his leadership. Without his government, Ethiopia could face chaos.
I strongly condemn the assassination of Girma Yeshitila, a leader of the Prosperity Party in the Amhara region, on April 27, 2023. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his family.
I feel compelled to mention that I found the way he spoke to his audience, the people of Menz, to be disrespectful. It’s possible that his disrespectful speech may have contributed to his tragic death. I have heard that, in retaliation for the assassination, Abiy is unleashing punishment on the Menze. May God save them!
Abiy’s recent speeches, word choices, and actions have sparked outrage and tarnished his once-sterling reputation. In a shocking move, he bestowed recognition rewards upon the TPLF warlords, inciting an uproar among his supporters. During a meeting with his ministers on February 1, 2023, he asserted that his security forces had foiled attempts to assassinate individuals and sow chaos in the city. He stressed that political power cannot be attained through violence or a coup d’état in contemporary Ethiopia.
With a smirk on his face, he advised his ministers not to be swayed by hidden agendas or lies spread on social media. He warned them of the dangers of unchecked anger and urged them to remain calm, as the damage caused by uncontrolled anger could be significant, especially when directed at someone with cohesive power like himself.
He reminded them of the tragic failure of groups like the EPRP to overthrow the Derg regime through coups or assassinations. Scowling and wagging his finger, he warned them to think carefully before plotting against his government.
He pledged that any retaliation from his government would be much worse than that of the Derg’s and that his revenge would be multiplied if anyone attempted to assassinate one of his officials or overthrow his government.
Don’t forget that Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam carried out his threats
When he felt his grip on power was threatened, he vowed revenge against those he labeled counter-revolutionaries. Smashing bottles filled with liquid which looked like blood, he made a statement in front of over 200,000 people; he pledged to eliminate a thousand counter-revolutionaries for an assassination of one of his government’s officials and also cadres, his so-called revolutionaries.
He was true to his word. He ended up being the butcher of Ethiopians. During his Red Terror campaign from 1977 to 1978, his security forces’ extrajudicial mass executions were estimated to be up to 500,000 people, including children and pregnant women. After they executed someone, they laid the bullet-ridden and blood soaked bodies in major streets for hours across the country. During the time when he maintained an iron grip over Ethiopia and its people, arbitrary detentions, arrests, tortures and unwarranted searches and seizures of homes and properties were quite common.
In other words, he imposed his despotic power by fulfilling his vows. He himself directed the Red Terror. It was a term he used to refer to his counter offence against what he called the White Terror, assassinations of his team members, security forces or cadres by the likes of the EPRP. The Red Terror was one of humanities unbridled brutal political phenomenon of mass executions, excruciating torture and arbitrary imprisonment of political opponents the world has witnessed.
Shocked by Abiy’s uncharacteristic outburst
Many were shocked by Abiy’s uncharacteristic outburst. His misleading explanation of peace and religious issues in Ethiopia, along with his disinformation and uncharacteristic tone and body language, revealed a sense of invincibility. It seemed as though he took for granted the love, respect, and admiration he had received for his accomplishments during his first four years in office.
When he first took charge in April 2018, I was captivated by his speeches on YouTube and truly believed he would be a great leader for Ethiopia. I closely followed his activities and admired the work he had done for his people. When the terrorist TPLF invaded, I staunchly defended his government against the information warfare waged by Western governments and mainstream media, writing articles and posting thousands of tweets. But then, after I tweeted the truth to him about his failure to provide safety and security for his people, he blocked me on Twitter. I felt deeply betrayed
He emerged as the decisive victor in the tragic civil war
While I am relieved that Abiy was able to successfully defend his government against the TPLF’s attempt to overthrow it and dismantle Ethiopia, I am also deeply saddened by the cost of the war. The TPLF lost nearly a million of its invading forces, millions were displaced, and over twenty billion US dollars’ worth of infrastructure was destroyed. Furthermore, Abiy has yet to disclose the number of soldiers and civilians killed by the TPLF’s forces to his own people.
Can Abiy fulfill his constitutional duties effectively?
I am aware of the threats that ethnic extremists pose to Ethiopia. However, his government’s recent mass arrests have become a common occurrence. Silencing journalists has also become the norm. He even blocked me on Twitter. Just yesterday, about fifty people were accused of terrorism and some of them have been imprisoned.
I have been a staunch supporter of Abiy since he first came to power. However, his recent pledge to use disproportionate force to counter threats to his government has revealed a cruel streak that deeply concerns me. Despite preaching tolerance, peace, respect and love, he even went so far as to block me on Twitter for simply tweeting a fact about his failure to provide security for his people. I have requested that he unblock me.
This article is dedicated to the people of Menze. My heart goes out to them and I pray that they will be protected from both the extremists who may seek to exploit them and any collateral damage that may result from the government’s use of disproportionate force against these extremists.
The writer LJDemissie can be reached at LJDemissie@yahoo.com