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Preparing The Future Beyond the PP Regime

Tesfa ZeMichael

The 27 years of TPLF rule has shown that ethnic tyranny cannot last. Whether one calls it ethnic federation or not, ethnic rule will always be rotten internally by corruption and gangrened externally by the resistance of Ethiopians. This means that the PP regime is also bound to fall. The question is: will Ethiopians be ready to replace it with a democratic regime?

Ethiopian map 1995
Ethiopian map 1995

Ethiopians were caught unprepared for the demise of the TPLF in 2018, leaving the political field to the EPRDF elite who engineered an internal transition of power from one EPRDF clique (the TPLF) to another EPRDF clique assembled around Abiy Ahmed. Ethiopians had no say in this transition of power. The new EPRDF power elite organized itself as the Prosperity Party (PP). It was essentially a reconstitution of the EPRDF system, with the Oromo ethnic elite replacing the Tigrean ethnic elite.

Ethiopians should be prepared to take matters into their own hands when the PP regime collapses instead of letting the remnants of the ethnic power elite engineer another internal clique-to-clique power transition as in 2018.

FANO is giving Ethiopians the opportunity to prepare now for a transition towards a post-PP democratic regime. Unlike the TPLF that instigated a war, if possible, to get back to power and, if not, to separate from Ethiopia, FANO does not pursue power: it pursues freedom. FANO’s resistance is a metonymy of the pan-Ethiopian desire to be free from the PP tyranny. This means we have to reflect on the outcomes of FANO’s actions from a pan-Ethiopian and not only from an Amhara perspective. To do so, we need an Idea or  a maxim to guide our thinking and actions.

Let me extract an implicit maxim from within the long history of FANO: “Amharas will be free only when all Ethiopians are free.” Let’s call it the FANO maxim. I believe, this is powerful maxim to guide our reflection on how to evict the homicidal PP regime and on how to prepare a democratic future. It is a maxim that could be the catalyst that spearheads a successful democratic pan-Ethiopian unity for creating a lasting democracy.

Unlike the PP regime that imprisons, tortures, maims, and  kills innocent Ethiopians, FANO combatants treat all Ethiopians with humanity, even the captured PP soldiers. The  horrendous cruelties of the PP soldiers reflect the values of Abiy Ahmed. For them as for Abiy Ahmed, the life of an Amhara or a non-Oromo has no value. Abiy feeds his soldiers’ killer instincts by painting as enemies Ethiopians who reclaim their rights, and by showing infinite tolerance for those who kill Amharas and non-Oromos.

And here lies the difference between the PP regime and FANO.  Historically, for FANO, the life of every Ethiopian is priceless, hence the FANO maxim,  “Amharas will be free only when all Ethiopians are free.”

At present, the feeling of political impotence has activated a flood of  ephemeral thinking in the Diaspora. Ephemeral thinking does not have the wherewithal to devise ways to resist effectively the PP’s tyranny and to prepare seriously the path to a post-PP democracy in a manner that reflects the FANO maxim.  To pave the road to a post-PP democratic Ethiopia, we need to reflect seriously on two possible outcomes of the FANO struggle.

Two possibilities are on the horizon. FANO could be defeated by the PP army, or it could come out victorious. Both possibilities must be considered. First, consider the possible defeat of FANO. We then have to examine what the causes of this possible defeat could be. Knowing the subjective and objective causes of the possible defeat could indicate how to extract a future victory out of the possible defeat by showing us what we should and should not do in the on-going struggle against the PP regime. Serious reflection on the defeat is possible only if guided by the FANO maxim, “Amharas will be free only when all Ethiopians are free.”

Second, consider a victory of FANO. What then? How do we convert it into a political victory? A military victory is not necessarily a political victory. Answering these questions in a way that brings a permanent democratic change requires also the guidance of the FANO maxim, “Amharas will be free only when all Ethiopians are free.” A FANO victory means the reawakening of Ethiopian history, not as a repeat of the past,  but as a new history of Ethiopian democracy that all Ethiopians construct together.

In reflecting on both possibilities (defeat and victory), we need to learn from universal history: An idea has power only when it is embodied in an organization. It is imperative that the FANO maxim and the ideas we draw from it be embodied in pan-Ethiopian organizations. This is a necessary implication of the maxim. It is also a necessary condition for evicting the PP regime and for replacing it with a lasting democratic system.

Because of the lack of a guiding idea and of  organizations that embody it, Ethiopians were blindsided by the unexpected fall of the TPLF in 2018. We should not let this happen again when the PP regime collapses, for it will surely collapse. History tells us that all homicidal regimes collapse sooner or later, as happened to the EPRDF.

A final question. What can Ethiopians in the Diaspora do to prepare the ground for the defeat of the PP regime and for the emergence of a democratic Ethiopia? The Diaspora is not in the mountains and valleys of Ethiopia fighting the army of the PP. FANO combatants are doing the fighting, sacrificing their limbs and lives. The only battle the Diaspora could engage in and must engage in is the battle of ideas. And the battle of ideas for democracy in Ethiopia will not be won by ephemeral thinking or spontaneous ideas.

To honor Ethiopians who are sacrificing their lives to liberate Ethiopia from the PP regime—a veritable machine for manufacturing death and ethnic-cleansing, the like of which Ethiopian history has never seen—the Diaspora should endorse the FANO maxim and use it as a guide for its reflections on how to trigger the demise of the PP regime and on how to bring about a lasting democracy in Ethiopia.

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