Bruke Lemma, Ph.D.
“Those who claim to be on the side of good yet do nothing to fight evil are on the side of evil.”
– Joyce Rachelle
“Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel” Che Guevara
It is very hard to believe that Abiy Ahmed who came to power four or so years ago with such a great pomp and ceremony, a great promise, and with an extraordinary zeal for reforms and so forth would have morphed into an even nastier version of the TPLF – the extremely nasty, and the widely despised group that he replaced. Now, other than some sort of severe mental derangement, and/or the effects of a serious personality disorder/s – one wonders what else is there that makes it possible for Abiy Ahmed to cold-bloodedly declare war on a large section of the country’s population, among other things.
As such, in this ongoing open war on the Amhara people, thus far, more than four thousand five hundred Amhara youth have been arrested, and significant number of innocent bystanders and those who resisted the arbitrary arrests and other illegal measures of the administration have also been killed. At the same time, Abiy Ahmed’s administration has also been carrying out widespread campaigns of abductions, beatings and incarcerations of journalists, media personalities, intellectuals and opinion makers and others.
Accordingly, Sixteen journalists including Temesgen Desalegn, the highly regarded editor in chief of the independent weekly newspaper, Feteh, were arrested in the last few days. Moreover, after being detained, Temesgen Desalegn was also severely beaten up by the interrogators, at the police station where he was being held, in an attempt to extract false confessions from him – and, afterwards, he was – and continues to be – denied medical treatments for his injuries, according to his family and lawyers.
In addition, the distinguished journalist, political and social critic, Tadios Tantu, an elderly man of 84, who was abducted, detained for months on, and released without explanations earlier; and, Meskerem Abera, the brilliant teacher and political commentator; as well as Solomon Shumiye, the popular host of the talk show, Gebeyanu, were also among those detained by Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
Still, these are but only a small fraction of the egregious acts of state terrorism that continue to be perpetuated by an out of control, arrogant and extremely irresponsible administration. As such, Abiy Ahmed and his band of ethnocrats, kleptocrats and hooligans have been brutalising and terrorising the Ethiopian people with complete impunity for more than four years now. Here, it seems Abiy Ahmed and the other deplorables – the ethnocrats, kleptocrats and hooligans – have been using the formula that involves collecting the worst of the TPLF’s practices – making them worse and then deploying them!
In any case, there are strong evidences now that clearly demonstrate Abiy Ahmed’s administration has been behind most of the chaos, anarchy, misery, and lawlessness and more that have been bedevilling the country from coast to coast. What’s more, this administration, already quite possibly the worst ever administration in the country, is very much set to become even worse, much worse – unless the Ethiopian people mobilize themselves soon, and say no to it strongly – and forced it to mend its ways.
Here, central to most of these things is Abiy Ahmed’s ongoing inability to transition from being a leader of a regional ethnic party, the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO), to a leader of the entire country, and to work for the good of all the Ethiopian people, using a model of leadership other than that of the widely reviled Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Obviously, Abiy Ahmed and the rest of them have been unable to free themselves up from the culture of corruption, greed, incompetence and extreme narrow-mindedness and more – deeply instilled into them by the TPLF, over the years.
Specifically, the OPDO and the other two fake parties, the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), were all explicitly designed, by the TPLF, to have no positive qualities other than those that would make them completely submissive, tame and obedient to the group – these, specifically, include the otherwise toxic qualities such as thoughtlessness, incompetence, greed, and corruption and extreme narrow-mindedness and so forth. What’s more, these were also the predominant features of the umbrella group, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), consisting of the TPLF itself, and the three charlatan parties – OPDO, ANDM and SEPDM that were created and controlled by the TPLF.
These dummy parties, with time, went through several name changes; oddly, however, the TPLF always maintained its initial name – that of a liberation front for a very tiny region, Tigray, belonging to a country that the group controlled with an iron fist for almost three decades. In any case, the OPDO later became Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), and ANDM become Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), and finally, under Abiy Ahmed, these two parties become Oromo and Amhara Prosperity Parties (PP) respectively, following the Prime Minister’s renaming, basically, of EPRDF – as Prosperity Party (PP).
Unfortunately, these name changes never resulted in improvements in the incompetence, corruptions, greed, extreme ignorance, narrow-mindedness and so forth of these parties – mostly they got worse, or, at best, they remained the same. Still, intelligence, courage, wisdom and so forth would have been an hinderance rather than help to the OPDO, ANDM and SEPDM in carrying out the errands for the TPLF – which was to give the TPLF a veneer of legitimacy while facilitating its brutal dominations of the populations in their respective regions. Thus, the TPLF and those who have replaced them later – Abiy Ahmed and OPDO – spurned these things in all their forms; choosing, instead, to wallow in extreme ignorance, narrow-mindedness and other follies.
Interestingly, of the three TPLF lacquey parties, by far the most merciless, the cruellest and the most brutal enforcer of TPLF’s dictates was Abiy Ahmed’s OPDO. Specifically, OPDO was unique in its zealotry, in its devotions to the TPLF – including in its eagerness in facilitating and actively participating in the mass murders, disappearances, tortures, imprisonments of thousands upon thousands of the Oromo youth and others in the Oromia region. Here, among others, we have Abadula Gemeda and Abiy Ahmed himself, both senior figures in the then EPRDF, who were two of the most fervent enablers of the TPLF’s persecutions of the Oromos – as well as persecuting these Oromos themselves.
Thus, besides Abiy Ahmed, who is now the country’s Prime Minister, and Abadula Gemeda, Abiy Ahmed’s special envoy, in charge of creating chaos and mayhem in various regions of the country – the Prosperity Party (PP), the old EPRDF by another name, is choke full of those who are directly and indirectly responsible for the mass murders, disappearances, tortures, imprisonments and so forth of Oromos and others in the Oromia region. However, despite all that and more, in the last four years these dyed in the wool criminals and miscreants, now congregated in the PP, have been using the name of the very Oromos that they used to mercilessly persecute – to gain, retain power and enrich themselves by appointing themselves their sole protectors and more.
In any case, it took Abiy Ahmed very little time to transform both himself and the party that brought him to power, the OPDO aka Oromo PP – with the very critical support of the ADP, aka Amhara PP – into an extreme version of the TPLF – clearly indicating that he has been working on these things long in advance. As such, in the four years since he came to power, Abiy Ahmed has pulled a lot of insidious tricks on the Ethiopian people. One of these is the changing of the old EPRDF – into a new, supposedly non-ethnic based, single national party, that accommodates all.
Which was a very big lie – as such, the new party, which Abiy Ahmed and the rest of them even had problem calling it the Ethiopian Prosperity Party (PP), calling it instead just Prosperity Party, that is, without the Ethiopian handle, is even more ethnocentric than the EPRDF that it has replaced. As such, Abiy Ahmed and his Oromo PP are now the new TPLF – first among the extremely unequals. And, accordingly, the Oromo elites have been greedily and eagerly running around, for four years or so now, trying to dominate everything and everyone – exactly as the Tigray elites used to do before them.
It has been obvious for a while now, the real purpose of Abiy Ahmed’s lies and deceptions here was to gain absolute control of all the regions – even more than that which was enjoyed by the TPLF – using the Prosperity Party, that he designed to give him full control. Thus, the ADP who has been structurally crippled since joining the Prosperity Party, has very little or no independent freedom to act on its own, other than to comply with whatever Abiy Ahmed and his OPDO instructs and directs it to do – which all makes ADP, aka, the Amhara PP, even more grotesquely subservient to Abiy Ahmed and OPDO than it used to be to the TPLF. As such, those in the ADP who dare to challenge Abiy Ahmed are expelled, side lined, or worse – by him, as we have all been witnessing for a while now, and repeatedly.
Accordingly, since not long after the TPLF left the Amhara region after raping, pillaging and almost completely razing it to the ground, Abiy Ahmed and OPDO have been virtually running the region all by themselves, only sending the ADP for errands, harassing and arresting some Amharas in one place, and killing some other Amharas in another – despite all of that being contrary to the Ethiopian Constitution, another sham TPLF construct, something the group never, ever respected, not even remotely, but now, it is saying that it would let all the Tigray region youth fight and die for it! Go figure!
In any case, why are Abiy Ahmed and his OPDO in the Amhara region? Well, they have facilitated the invasion, subsequent occupation and devastation of the region by the TPLF forces once before. And now the TPLF has completed preparations for invading the region again and destroy what was little left of it – Abiy Ahmed and OPDO, shamelessly elated by that prospect, thought to give the TPLF a bit of a helping hand, by softening the Amharas, materially and psychologically – to ensure TPLF’s success.
Thus, they have been trying to disarm the Amhara forces, especially, the mostly youth group, known as the Amhara Fano and the Amhara militia and even the Amhara farmers – and that, in short, is mainly why Abiy Ahmed and his OPDO are there. Moreover, in line with its long and shameful tradition, the ADP has also been helping by rounding up and arresting and killing some of the Amaras itself – as well as helping Abiy Ahmed’s and OPDO’s hit squads to carry out their own killings and mass arrests of the Amhara youth, journalists, Amhara intellectuals, opposition politicians and opinion leaders and more.
Here, while the radical impunity with which Abiy Ahmed and the OPDO have been acting now is really something new, however, they have always been very much ant-Amhara and have continuously worked to undermine the Amhara people and their region in every way they possibly could. In that, among other things, Abiy Ahmed’s government armed the TPLF twice over and led it straight to the region and then simply stood by and watched idly while the group unleashed all hell on the Amhara people – raping, pillaging and devastating the region, setting it back by three decades if not more.
In that, at the time of the first invasion, there was no credible force/s in the region with any capacity to offer appreciable resistance to the TPLF’s onslaught. And that was because Abiy Ahmed worked extremely hard before the invasion using every possible means to stop the Amharas from organising, training and arming such a force. He also continued to sabotage them even during and after the occupation – among other things, denying them weapons, material and financial assistance. In contrast, Abiy Ahmed was very happy to pour huge resources and to provide advanced weapons and equipment to Oromia forces – who were doing very little to stop the ordeals of the Amharas in the Oromia region.
Accordingly, it took the Amharas some time to organise and arm themselves and start confronting an army with superior organisation and with advanced light and heavy weapon systems and more, much more. Well, the Amharas have some forces now, and the TPLF who left their region, after devastating it, recently completed preparations to return, and to invade their region once more – and Abiy Ahmed is busy trying to disarm / disband the forces that the Amharas put together with such a great difficulty!
Here, Abiy Ahmed’s extreme arrogance, and his total contempt for the Amhara people – and the Ethiopian people in general – is breathtaking! As such, this man deceitfully and treacherously brought death and destructions and more to the Amhara people, and did so on a massive scale, once before – and he is now trying to do the same thing to these people once more!
Moreover, the ‘not so secret’ tripartite negotiations, that of Abiy Ahmed, and the Oromo groups, OPDO and OLF, and the TPLF – are insults for both to the Amhara people, who despite being party to the conflict, are not represented in these negotiations, and to the Ethiopian people at large, who are also not being really represented in these negotiations, and, therefore, whose interests are not being taken into account faithfully.
Moreover, in reality, these negotiations actually are not even tripartite negotiations; as such, they are negotiations between the Oromo ethnonationalist elites and the Tigray ethnonationalist elites – only two parties! As such, Abiy Ahmed, OPDO and OLF are there to advance the interests of the Oromo ethnonationalist elites; and, the TPLF is the other party advancing the interests of the Tigray ethnonationalist elites. Therefore, none of the eventual outcomes of these negotiations would be binding in any way at all on the Amhara people and on the Ethiopian people in general.
We could reasonably predict that one of the outcomes of these negotiations would be the handing over to the TPLF of the Amhara ancestral lands that were previously illegally annexed and incorporated into the Tigray region – and, for that, Abiy Ahmed obviously thinks, the Amharas, forget the rest of Ethiopians, need not even be consulted at all! Here, while the psychopathic Abiy Ahmed and his OPDO, an organisation designed and cultivated to be ignorant and narrow-minded, might have been so emboldened now to believe that they could get away with all that and more – anyone with any sense, however, would strongly encourage them to stop and think – and acquire some intelligence and wisdom.
As such, among other things, Abiy Ahmed and the OPDO would be surpassing the TPLF as the most reviled, as most detested and detestable – still, that should certainly be the least of their worries! In any case, while the US might have backed the peace negotiations in principle and so on, it is unlikely for it to be behind most of what these two groups of ethnonationalist elites would have it in them to do – given their psychopathic nature as well as their exceptional ignorance, extreme narrow-mindedness and more.
Significantly, it doesn’t serve its purpose all for the US to be facilitating the complete domination and exclusive ascendancies of these two groups – groups who would always be creating conflicts, chaos, mayhem and misery and more wherever they are – even for a very short time, which is what it would definitely be. It should know that these two groups are dangerous for Ethiopia, dangerous for the region and dangerous for the world!
Moreover, the US – though its rhetoric of human right and democracy and so on do not always matches its actual practice – regardless, it would be the absolute pits for it to facilitate the continued persecution and subjugation of the Amhara people – a people who have been mercilessly pounded and battered for a long time – by an utterly sinister psychopathic group, TPLF, and an extreme psychopath, Abiy Ahmed.
As such, it is important for the US to start being true to its own values of democracy and human right, which is exactly what the long-persecuted and tyrannized Amhara people after – democracy and human right. Here, among other things, it is incumbent on the US to put pressure on all and to make sure that the ongoing negotiations include representatives from all the parties to the conflict – i.e., those from the Amhara and the Afar regions – in addition to those who are already being represented.
Other than that, it would be futile to believe that there would be peace for any length of time by forcefully retaking the Amhara ancestral lands and handing them over to the TPLF – who stole it from them in the first place. As such, no amount of calling these areas ‘western Tigray’ – as some American diplomats and others, taking their cues from the TPLF, have been calling them – would make them other than what they really are, stolen Amhara lands that are now and must remain in the owner’s hand.
With all the that and more, it is highly critical for the Amhara people to find an urgent solution to the greatest problem that has now become a very serious existential threat to all of them. Specifically, having the ADP, aka Amhara PP, to represent their region and their interests is actually much, much worse than for them to have no representation at all! As such, the ADP would make it possible for their enemies to inflict much more damage on them than these enemies would have been able to otherwise – by providing intimate knowledge of the region and such for these enemies to use, among other things.
Accordingly, removing all the ADP leaders is highly indispensable for the very survival of the Amhara people. In their place, a transitional regional technocratic administration could be selected and run the region until regular elections are held; and, this must be done by all and every means necessary – all legal, of course. Meanwhile, they must also mobilise themselves and protect their forces, specially, the Fanos; and, in particular, help them to resist Abiy Ahmed’s disarmament drives and other illegal measures.
The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org