Ever since PM Abiy came to power we have seen a lot of good things. A lot has been said about this, which I do not want to dwell on everything; Increasing media freedom, release of political prisoners and the chasing of TPLF bosses back to Tigray being the most prolific. On the other hand, Prime Minister Abiy failed miserably in the area of keeping law and order, protecting citizens’ security, and equitable power sharing. Today normal way of life in many parts of the country is an illusion. A tremendous resource is being destroyed as a result of internal war on many parts of the country. The complete ignoring of the plight of citizens, by the Prime Minister is astounding and many are now wondering whether the prime minister is even interested to continue in his position.
The first sign of clear indications that PM is on a different agenda was revealed when over 1200 Addis Abeba Youth were arrested for crimes committed by qerroo in Burayu. This reminds me of the story of the short person that was hanged for a crime his very tall relative committed. Since we were in love with PM Abiy, we ignored this mild symptom of the plot ahead. We even ignored the massive displacement of the Gedeo people in South Ethiopia by Oromos of the Guji clan because we were in love with PM Abiy, not knowing we are becoming a partner to crime.
If one follows the track record of PM Abiy’s state functioning, from the way he formed his cabinet to the recent controversial speech of President Lemma Megersa and Addisu Arega, lots of suspicious things can be extracted. When Prime Minister Abiy selected a 50% women cabinet, was it really to promote women’s right in a country where political matters used to be settled for centuries by men. Not only that, key positions were given for women coming from minorities; major ethnic groups such as the Amaras were given trivial position where they have no commanding role in the political aspects of the country. The most decisive places within the air and ground defence forces were given to Oromo generals and Oromo high ranking officers. Key position in the financial sector such as the Revenue Authority and government banks were also given to people of Oromo background. We ignored these events because we were in love with PM Abiy.
Addis Ababa administration and police force were carefully crafted to be dominated by Oromo nationals including the Commissioner of Police Force. One could see this bias when demonstrations and large scale meetings are denied to one group and allowed to others (affiliated to the ruling party). Unauthorized violent protests with machetes, clubs and other sharp metal objects have not met police resistance; even in some cases these hooligans well entertained or encouraged by the police under the pretexts of “rights of people” while youth that participated in very peaceful town hall meetings were beaten and imprisoned. Today the police force at the federal and Addis Ababa are attacking dogs for the prime minister.
Prime Minister Abiy had to bend the rules in parliament to bring an Oromo compatriot as the mayor of Addis Ababa (unelected leader). We ignored this because we were in love with the PM. Since the coming of this mayor, a large number of city administration positions were immediately filled by compatriots from ODP that began issuing ID cards for non-residents of Addis Ababa, with an apparent motive of rigging the election in 2020. Jawar Mohammad, a fundamentalist Oromo was once heard giving a very urgent response to Ekinder Nega (the man who exposed Takeles’s disguised work for rigging votes) that the Oromo parties are going to win Addis Ababa by election or confrontation no matter what the results may be. We were puzzled by the situations but kept cheering PM Abiy because we were in love with him. Some of us even criticised journalist Eskinder, saying it is too early to talk about Addis Ababa because we were in love with PM Abiy.
The president of Oromia and one of his lieutenant, Addisu Arega clearly informed their Oromo audience in a couple of meetings how hard they are working to change the demography in coordination with Addis Ababa mayor in order to make Oromia a winner in the upcoming election. That was the watershed moment to say, wait a minute what is going on, thanks to journalist Tewodros Tsegay’s revelations. Apart from distributing ID cards to Oromos with residence outside of Addis Aba, the ODP officials also displaced over 12,000 poor residents in Legatafo, apparently fearing election results, under the pretext of “illegal houses.” In a civilized world, these combinations of actions by ODP officials are crimes punishable by law for many years in jail. The ODP officials are using their power in the federal state to freely walk even when there is abundant proof that can incriminate them.
In all this drama, Prime Minister Abiy takes the role of the adult man in the room. Prime Mister Abiy is the PR of ODP often speaking softer words, and words that are commonly wanted to be heard by the ears of the nation despite the fact that he has not uttered any single word regarding his position on Addis Ababa, whereas all other ODP officials publicly claimed Addis Ababa as their city (to them the residents of Addis do not matter), as far as making a press release. Most of the dirty jobs are planned by a committee of Oromos consisting of fundamentalist Oromos (like Jawar et al.), ODP and OLF, whereas the plan is made public by the radical Jawar as a face-saving tactic for the ODP officials.
Opinions have it that the prime minister’s strategy is in the footsteps of the Derg. The Derg that formed in June 1974 following the February 1974 revolution were first loyal to His Majesty while hunting out his subordinate officials (ministers, army generals, renown business owners and landlords). They were running the daily task of the changes (a revolution, unlike today’s so-called reform) taking place in the country and it was not unusual to report to His Majesty through the radio or in person expressing their respect for him until in late August 1974 where they killed him and took control of total power in September 1974.
Many are still hoping that the prime minister is genuine and that members of his ODP are only becoming obstacles to him. If PM Abiy’s former boss, Lemma Megerssa, who was even hailed as a better candidate for premiership but could not get it because he was not a parliamentarian (Ethiopian law requires premier has to be a parliamentarian) was caught red-handed in which he delivered a speech that implies he is working to change the demography near Addis’ suburbs; it will be quite a foolishness to expect PM Abiy will be different. In fact, the prime minister is the chair of ODP and there is no information he doesn’t know or authorize. One of the trust lines cited by naive people is, Abiy has an Amara wife and he may take a more moderate position due to his family (having 3 half-Amara kids; the Amaras are known for pan Ethiopianism thinking). Again this point does not hold water. Isayas Afewerki who is born in Asmara to a Tigre father and mother from Adwa (Ethiopia) has diligently worked for the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. Hitler (not comparing PM Abiy’s persona here) who is born Austrian was dedicated to Germany until his final death.
The many good words we hear from PM Abiy are not necessarily meant to unite Ethiopians and build one big prosperous country. What he speaks in Amharic, and what he speaks in Oromiffa for his Oromo audience are often contradictory as clearly exposed by Achameleh Tamiru. PM Abiy praises former kings to his Amharic audience and demonizes them to his Oromo listeners. PM Abiy is not even consistent on past Kings he talks about for his Amharic audience. When the murmuring (from radical Oromos) gets stronger (to his sometimes praise of past Ethiopian kings), the next time he delivers a speech without talking the name of the kings who presided on the events. On the other hand, PM Abiy is very sensitive to Oromo demands. When the OLF was running havoc in western Ethiopia, the ODP allowed it to have free hand gambling on the life of innocent Ethiopians for its own political advantage. But When the Oromo denounced the killings and robberies through mass demonstrations, PM Abiy and his party (ODP) quickly convened and the next day he sent his strong army to quell the OLF uprising. When Abagedas intervened due to the hard hit on the OLF, PM Abiy and his party turned into a kind papa overnight rewarding the OLF with millions of stolen dollars. When the qerroo protested demanding condo houses, and ODP made a press release to stop condo lottery transfer, PM Abiy quickly formed a committee of 8 persons (5 of them ODP members) to get suggestions regarding border demarcation between Addis Ababa and Oromia. Mind you this same person was telling us kilils are administrative divisions and no border exists between kilils.
When PM Abiy said we better vanish than Ethiopia disintegrates (as in the March women’s day celebration) it is not in line with what is going on the ground; He has never been to locations of campsites of displaced people, and tried to see the dire situation. He and ODP care very little for the plight of Ethiopians displaced outside of Oromia. Millions displaced, PM Abiy is flying from one country to the other often engaged with peripheral issues not that significant to Ethiopians. If PM Abiy is not taking any tangible measure now, as time goes, the capability of the federal military force, to keep law and order, will be highly compromised. We wonder if PM Abiy deliberately waiting for the ultimate breakdown of peace and security so that the ODP can have the ground to take the 1991 Russian Federation model, Oromia with its capital in Addis Ababa. One line of speech from PM Abiy about security issues is, he preferred not to take action for democracy to grow. For democracy to grow, you won’t beat peaceful demonstrators and block peaceful demonstration. But you won’t tolerate killings and mass displacements. Ironically PM Abiy’s attack dogs are busy blocking peaceful demonstration in Addis Ababa. Many think PM Abiy’s government is not strong not understanding the basic reasoning. The issue with PM Abiy’s government is not weakness. It is a deliberate plan of inaction.
Summary of bad records/misdeeds by PM Abiy or his Government
1. PM Abiy’s continued placement of corrupt officials in key government positions, and lack of any taste to bring new talented faces to his government and the bureaucracy.
2. The placement Oromos in key military positions (Air and ground defence forces, Security, Police, banks, Revenue Authority, Adds Ababa administration).
3. Filling cabinet position with 50% women with the intent of avoiding opposition, a sinister motive to grab power in all areas, and pass decisions easily.
4. Deliberately pushing out a key ally (ADP, a partner party that brought the current revolution) out of crucial positions of the state structure.
5. Arresting of over 1200 Addis Ababa youth, placing them in malaria-infested areas for the crime committed by Oromo youth in Burayu (killing of over 30 people and displacement of over 10,000 residents (most of them South Ethiopia descent).
6. Abiy’s deliberate sideling of his responsibility to keep law and order in many parts of the country (Somali, Hariri, Dire Daw, Benishangule, Amara, South Ethiopia, and Oromia).
7. Deliberately avoiding of TPLF’s military build-up near the border with Amara.
8. The displacement of Gedeo people and the confiscation of their land by Guji Oromos; ignoring displacement or killings of Amaro and Burji tribes in South Ethiopia by Oromo radicals.
9. Uninterested in helping the Gedeo people to the point famine is threatening over 300,000 of them.
10. Deliberate encouragement of or not doing anything against groups responsible for splitting different ethnic groups in South Ethiopia even though no single ethnic group in the south can economically be sufficient to stand out as a separate kilil.
11. The displacement of over 12,000 people from Legetafo, and massive evictions of people from towns near Addis Ababa (e.g., Sebeta, Sendafa) and other areas within Oromia zones.
12. The issuance of ID cards to Oromos that reside elsewhere with the intent of winning the 2020 election.
13. Settling Oromos displaced from Somali region in the suburbs of Addis Ababa and inside Addis Ababa with the Intent of changing the demography.
14. The collusion of ODP with extremist Oromos such as Jawar, Tsegaye Arrarssa, Eskial Gabissa who charter the secret agenda for Oromia kilil.
15. The undemocratic claim of ODP over Addis Ababa without the consent of Addis Abebans.
16. PM Abiy not saying a word regarding Addis Ababa status in line with the constitution except saying it is an African capital; that hs to be told to Africans not Ethiopians.
17. Not properly administering PM Abiy’s attack dogs (the federal and Addis Ababa police) and qerroo are out of their mind.
18. Anarchy is reining in Oromia in particular; it is a daily observation to see Oromo youth, encouraged by Oromia Administration, claiming buildings in Addis Ababa which they never built. He failed to denounce ODP’s press release regarding Addis Ababa.
19. Blockages of Pan Ethiopian parties not to campaign in regions such as Oromia. Only in Amara region Pan Ethiopianist parties can freely move around.
20. PM Abiy’s unwillingness to make kilils and crime doers accountable for displacement and killings of people.
21. PM Abiy’s lack of appetite for a change or an amendment to the constitution.
22. PM Abiy must know that not protecting law and order and ignoring the plight of displaced citizens is an abrogation of his duties and responsibilities which can lead to his imprisonment in future.
The above points indicate that the country is in the wrong direction, and the Prime Minister is not willing to lead properly despite the massive support he obtained from the public. Mothers and fathers, the elderly and religious leaders supported him and prayed for him to succeed. If the PM thinks he is smart by cheating the unsuspecting Ethiopians, he surely is out of the norm for a head of state. He spoke in front of the world in the Ethiopian parliament promising to bring democracy and better days ahead for Ethiopians. People give support based on the words a leader pronounces; the Ethiopian people trusted, and PM Abiy simply walked away from this trust.
Thanks to Tewodros Tsegay of Reyot, the ODP-gate, a miniature to the Watergate scandal of the ’70s, has become a reality in Ethiopia today, and we do not have to go anywhere or say this or that to shade crocodile Tears for the PM and his party. The big question now is, is the PM the Saint or the Devil that quotes from the bible? I am afraid the answer lies not in the former; he is at least aware of the devils’ work in his party, has chaired the devil’s meetings, either agreed with the Devil’s resolutions or failed to avert them.
If PM Abiy is not in conspiracy with the Devils in his party, let him come out and speak about the country’s situation, his plan to overcome the problems, unequivocally say he is definitely committed to including change agents in the government, purging corrupt officials; immediately take concrete actions. The PM promised he will be in charge of the transition to democracy but he is transitioning us to autocratic Oromia officials and extremists. This is time for peace-loving Ethiopians to wake up, organise and defend our rights. The greater responsibility now rests on ADP since most other parties are weak. Mass mobilization and awakening is required in Amara, Addis Ababa, South Ethiopia, Afar and peace-loving Oromos. They must be told the dangers ahead. We need to subdue criticism on ADP now. Ato Yohannes Buayalew of ADP has challenged us to play our part and he has a point here to score. We all cheered PM Abiy and it is unfair to criticise the ADP for the good gestures they have given to PM Abiy’s government until it was discovered that the ODP is on a different course.