February 10, 2023
Authors’ Note: This article is a tough love to encourage Abiy to wake up and to change his weaponized approach to handling the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church’s (EOTC) internal problems. His distorted clarification of the problems and his intimidations of using disproportionate force to quell violence against his government officials caused him break faith with tens of millions of Ethiopians. Although he gave hints that he might end up being Ethiopia’s next tyrant, I’m still for his leadership because Ethiopians might face havoc without his government.
To rebuild bridges with the people he has disappointed, he needs to repent of: Using disinformation to split the EOTC, his uncharacteristic manner and behavior when he gave his prejudiced clarification of peace and religious current issues in Ethiopia. He also needs to apologize to the EOTC and its members for weaponizing the church’s internal problems. I pray for him to restore his sober-mind that he exhibited during his first four years in office.
While I was proofreading this article: The EOTC reported that its leaders met with Abiy. A court in Addis Ababa issued an order that restricts the errant bishops’ rights to enter the church’s properties across the country. And Net blocks said “Social media and messaging apps are restricted in Ethiopia amid religious tensions.”
Abiy himself sparked fury that eroded his strong positive repetition
In his February 01, 2023 meeting with his ministers, he told them that his security forces have been foiling plots to assassinate people and to create chaos in the city.
He emphasized one cannot gain political power or fulfill one’s political wish with violence or a coup d’état in today’s Ethiopia.
With a smirking face, he advised them not to get angry with his government because of someone’s hidden agenda or lies gathered from Facebook. He schooled them about the danger of unsuppressed anger and the need to stay calm because damage caused by uncontrolled anger would be significant, particularly when one with a cohesive power like him gets angry.
He reminded them about the EPRP and other groups’ tragically failed attempts to overthrow the Derg’s regime by a coup d’état or by assassinating some of its loyalties. Scowling his face while wagging his finger, he warned them that one should ruminate on one’s plot against his government ten times before getting him angry.
He pledged that his government’s counter revenge punishments would be much worse than that of the Derg’s; that his revenge would be a multiple of larger numbers if one would assassinate a member of his official or try to overthrow his government.
Remember, Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam kept his vows
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
His deceiving explanation of peace and religious current issues in Ethiopia, his disinformation, his uncharacteristic tone of voice and his body language revealed he feels like “an invincible warrior” who takes for granted the love, the respect and the admiration he has been receiving for his accomplishments for about four years since he took the oath of office.
After he took charge in April 2018, I watched his speeches on YouTube and that convinced me he would be a great leader for Ethiopia. Since then, I’ve attentively followed his activities and appreciated and admired him for what he has done for his people. When he was countering the terrorist TPLF’s invasion, I wrote articles and posted thousands of tweets to defend his government from the information warfare of the western governments and the mainstream media unleashed against him, and by extension Ethiopians.
Abiy decisively won the tragic civil war
I’m definitely glad that he won the war that the TPLF waged to overthrow his government and then to dismantle Ethiopia. I’m also saddened by the costs of the war: the TPLF lost close to a million of its invading forces, millions have been internally displaced and over twenty billion US dollars’ worth of infrastructure has been destroyed. And besides, Abiy has yet to tell the world, including his people the number of soldiers and civilians the invader TPLF’s forces killed.
Is Abiy able to fully execute his constitutional responsibilities?
He appears to have lost control of the Oromia region’s government. For example, the Oromia region security forces killed tens of churchgoers in Shashemene, Ethiopia on February 04, 2023. The victims were heading to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church’s (EOTC) to protect it from illegal trespassers – rogue fired EOTC’s bishops whom Abiy appears to support.
I wonder why his state media haven’t yet reported the EOTC’s members whom the Oromia police shot and killed due to the fury triggered by Abiy’s distorted explanation of peace and religious current issues in Ethiopia. Noted: His state media are too busy reporting about his success stories, the Ukraine war, the Turkey and Syria’s earthquake death toll and the Chinese ‘spy balloon’ shot down by a US missile.
The Oromia police give armed protection for the fired EOTC’s bishops
The EOTC is a legal entity. It has bylaws and abides with the Ethiopian federal and regional governments’ laws and regulations. The church has a legal right to advance its teachings across the country and to promote or fire its bishops. Obviously, a fired bishop who forcefully enters into the church’s property will be considered a trespasser and could be prosecuted. He could also be charged for burglary if the church loses an item.
The federal and the regional governments’ police have a legal responsibility to secure the safety and security of citizens and properties. But they are giving armed protection for the errant fired bishops when they interfere with the church’s business, trespass on the church’s properties or occupy the church’s properties without permission.
The police along with some of the federal government offices are also restricting the church’s legal bishops’ activities such as travels across the country. They are also indiscriminately harassing, arresting and killing the church’s members all over the country. Two Oromia region’s police officer took turns and raped a priest of the EOTC, Aba Gebre-Michael, whose photograph is shown above.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H. L. Mencken
I hope Abiy will stay on par with the Ethiopian people who have clearly shown him their love and regard for him. I also hope he wakes up and changes his weaponized approach to handling the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church’s (EOTC) internal problems.
I encourage him to apologize to the EOTC, its members and their supporters: First, for threatening them with counter revenge killings of biblical proportions in order to punish those who try to overthrow his government, second for supporting the rogue fired EOTC’s bishops, and third for failing to report atrocities: gruesome murders that have been committed across the country, particularly in the Oromia region.
Lastly, I must let Abiy’s officials know that I staunchly defended their law enforcement operation in Tigray from the Western governments and the mainstream media information warfare via my articles and thousands of tweets in the last two years. I noted that Abiy’s pledge to use disproportionate force to foil a threat of his government reveals that he harbors cruelty.
This article is dedicated to Melake Tsehay Qomose Aba Gebre-Michael Fante (መላከ ጸሀይ ቆሞስ ኣባ ገ/ሚካኤል ፋንቴ ) who is a sexual assault victim of two Oromia region police officers whom the region’s president Shimelis Abdisa has authority. This article is also dedicated to tens of churchgoers who were shot and killed by the Oromia region police officers with impunity.
The author, LJDemissie, can be reached at LJDemissie@yahoo.com