by Muluken Gebeyew
After 27 years of TPLF dominated regime’s brutal dictatorship, the Ethiopian people briefly seen glimpse of hope that its peaceful long struggle reaching to its pinnacle and to fruit. Reform oriented middle rank new leaders who sensed the public outcry for freedom in the last 3 years emerged with in the EPRDF and assumed the leadership position in April 2018 following with in the party bitter power struggle. The strategic alliance of former OPDO (ODP) and ANDM ( ADP) helped to oust TPLF from leadership position to the periphery.
The so called “Team Lemma” and new prime minster Dr. Abiy Ahmed made a bold, promising and Ethiopian speech and their early action raised new hope among Ethiopian people that the country is to undergo peaceful transition to democratic country. Some of the measure by the new leadership in the early days of transition galvanised national public support to the new leaders. Most people thought their longstanding praying have been answered. The youth considered it as revolution toppling the brutal TPLF dominated regime. Some considered it as rather a reform instead of revolution that the EPRDF metamorphosing from TPLF to Oromo elite dominated new regime.
The public euphoria lasted only few months. The new leadership tasked itself only rectifying the sin of TPLF instead of looking for the future and new Ethiopia. They covered the open gangrenous wound of TPLF’s regime with new dressing with some fragrance perfumes. This doesn’t root out the root/ poison of TPLF’s regime that bitterly ruled the country through divide and rule policy for nearly three decades.
The wound covered by the new dressing is currently highly infected by the virus and bacteria called Ethnic politics, its proponents and activists. It is discharging foul smelling pus. More than 4 millions of people are displaced, thousands died and majority of Ethiopian are now under fear that country will go to civil war. The ethnic clash we see all over our country is due to partly failure of the new leadership to identify the root cause of our countries suffering of 27 years under TPLF dominated regime and address accordingly by informing, unifying and mobilizing the public against root cause.
It is becoming apparent that the poison cancer left by TPLF regime will not be detoxified for long unless a radical treatment/therapy is done. The current leaders are unlikely to sort it as they are rather “reform” oriented and part and parcel of ethnic based political parties that have been ruling the country and wanting to rule further. Their Ethiopian national feeling and activity is often thwarted by the ethnic enclave party enslavement they come from and it is very unlikely this would change in the near future.
The so called transition political period which is led by themselves without including the oppositions or other stake holder’s is dwarfed by their failure to be true transition leaders. Although they have facilitated superficial freedom and engagement for the political elites, their inaction or covert action embolden aggressive ethnic politics to dominate the agenda and cause death and displacement throughout the country. They failed the country and the people by allowing ethnic political armed group to enter Ethiopia without disarmament. They facilitated their medias to preach hate, displacement, monger war and have caused distress to the majority of Ethiopian people . These groups causing chaos, suffering, displacement of millions all over the country in a scale not seen even in 27 brutal dictatorship of TPLF led regime.
The new leaders have failed as they have no clear bold vision of the future except patching some of the holes and dirt’s of TPLF regime. They fail to do top priority task of reconciliation, forgiveness, people to people discussion and among political parties for the past ill of 45 years. The majority of the people currently alive are affected by 27 years of TPLF rule and 17 years of Dergue rule where millions of life lost. Many bear grudges and hate which needs healing through forgiveness, reconciliation, fair justice and close the past chapter to have a new Ethiopia where the past deed will never repeat. If Ethiopians have done that in the early months following this political reform, they would have been able to know the root causes of the past, current ill and ease the transition without challenging setbacks.
This gave opportunities for old actors to revive, re organise and new actors to use the past as means to promote the future to disrupt peaceful political transition that the Ethiopian people deserve.
The risk at present Ethiopians face is not only an issue of democratisation of the political system, but the country as whole is at risk of disintegration. Prominent scholars and Political experts are stating Ethiopia is at brisk of integration and the country is becoming failed state. The current leadership unless it takes radical measure, they are to fail Ethiopians and the country in manner that no Ethiopian leaders failed in history.
The root cause of 27 years brutal dictatorship and current mass displacement and death is Ethnic politics. Ethnic politics is embolden in the country by the Constitution of TPLF. The Constitution was coined for sole purpose to legitimise the TPLF rule through divide and rule. The ethnic pseudo-federalism with TPLF made up fake boundary deluded many ethnic propagandist and their followers to discriminate the people as “ours and theirs”. This poison fuelled by historical exaggerated and false accounts and deluded sense of “this is our time” is edging the country to the cliff.
Ethiopian of all ethnicities, abilities, religious group, age group, gender, political opinion, profession, sexuality and specially the young generation should be aware of the current risk and save the country before it is too late. Once our country break up and engage in civil war, it will be catastrophic disaster for us and our children. Remember Former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Rwanda, Yemen and the people of Rohingya in Myanmar (Burma)
Unfortunately, Ethiopian based political groups and opinions that promote citizen based politics have been dissipated and dismantled by TPLF for 27 years and also made more lame by the current rulers and ethic agenda. They have no teeth to bite, nor tongue to speak. Currently it is Ethnic based political groups either in ruling or opposition which is dominating the country despite the public genuine desire for democratic country where people live as brother and sister with equal opportunities, justice and fair treatments. Ethnic politics by its nature is anti democratic, it is based on division and animosity of one from other. Further promotion of such is to call for more mayhems. Culture, language and tradition of different ethnic members of Ethiopia can be used to build the country for better instead to divide by not using it in political organisation.
At present the only national institution which is not legally promoted under ethnic tones and underpinning is the Ethiopia’s National Defence Force. Although the upper echelons with in army were from TPLF era with ethnic dimension, majority of the army specially the officers under the rank of Colonel are from all part of Ethiopia who are trained and to serve the nation. The Ethiopia Defence Force has the responsibility to save the country from disintegration by either internal or external forces. At present, Ethiopia is at risk of integration from volcanic ethnic politics which is causing mayhems. The current leadership is weak, failed safe political transition and facilitated ethnic politics to reign with in the country in manic mood.
The current prime minster Dr Abiy Ahmed preached unity, democracy and genuine election, but the reality on the background is different. He is either denied to put to practice what he promised because of hand twisting by the old TPLF dominated EPRDF political structure holding him back or /and fear of his ethnic party (ODP) which is infiltrated by OLF and other secessionist to replace him by Oromo ethnicist leader or /and fear of Oromo elite ethnic activists who dominated the agenda and controlled the social media and the youth specially the so called “Querro” or he has covert mission. At present it is not clear. Most people trusted him as genuine person and expect him to deliver such. There are two alternatives; either to enable him with full power to secure genuine political transition comprising other stake holders or the National Defence Force has to take the responsibility to save the country for short period to root out the root cause of the last 28 years poison and hand over to civilian government through genuine election.
We have seen in most countries the national army plays significant role in saving the country from collapse or disintegration although there are military coups for dictatorial military regimes as well. We can learn from the experience of countries from all over the world.
The Ethiopian Defence Force has national responsibility either to support Dr. Abiy Ahmed to have full power and enable him to form transition government with all stakeholders by dismantling the current EPRDF party structure, ethnic politics, divide rule of TPLF era system, replacing the TPLF era Constitution, banning political parties based on ethnicity, or the other option.
If Dr Abiy is not prepared for such, the Ethiopian National Defence Force has national duty to take the responsibility to save the country by taking measure that would root out the causes of all the chaos, displacement, death and fear of Ethiopians in their own country by forming transitional provisional government tasked with dismantling EPRDF, Ethnic politics, the current ethnic pseudo-federalism, replace TPLF’s constitution and hand over to elected civilian government based on citizen based politics with in a year or two.
May God help us to save our country and our people.