Opinion: PM Abiy’s stumbling blocks ahead

Even as the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday for his action and his part in the peace agreement with Eritrea. It is still not insignificantly what is erupting in Ethiopia. As his coalition of parties in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) is working ahead of the election of 2020. While the ethnic federalism is showing signs of trouble ahead.

If we will get a look into the actions of reform, how it challenges certain parts of the EPRDF, and especially the TPLF. As the challenges ahead of the up-coming election. Will show if there will be more internal squabbling or not. We can also see the rising levels of the Internal displaced people and last the need of reforms of the security organizations in the Republic.

Weakend the state:

Abiy’s reforms were expected to address Ethiopia’s vulnerabilities, speeding up democratisation and economic growth. Yet they weakened the state even further. With the TPLF losing its grip on power and being replaced by Oromo leadership, centrifugal forces, claims of self-determination and aspirations of other ethnic groups increased, leading to clashes”(Giovanni Faleg – ‘Resetting Ethiopia: Will the state heal?’2019).


About 2.9 million new displacements associated with conflict were recorded in 2018, the highest figure recorded worldwide. Despite many important and positive political changes that took place in the country in 2018, old conflicts became more entrenched and new conflicts escalated along various state borders. Disasters also triggered 296,000 new displacements, most of them associated with flooding and drought in the Somali region. In the first half of 2019, about 755,000 new displacements were recorded, 522,000 associated with conflict and 233,000 associated with disasters” (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre – Ethiopia).

Reforming Security Sector:

Reforms in the security sector, including the judiciary, the police, as well as the civil service are essential –and should be conducted at the federal, regional, zone, woreda, and kebele levels. The intention of Dr.Abiy to “restructure the security forces” and“dissolve the Liyu police” of the Somali region may be a step in the right direction. These reforms may be considered in other regions as well. However, deeper reform in the security sector may be needed to ensure that the complex configuration of security forces –military, federal police, regional police, regional special police, and militia –will effectively cooperate in addressing ethnic violence, rather than fanning its flames. The creation of a whole-of-government strategy for preventing and countering violent extremism would offer an important contribution to this. It would bring together the relevant government ministries and institutions, and outline clear responsibilities and priorities to address the issue of ethnic extremism” (Dr. Yonas Adaye Adeto – ‘Preventing violent extremism in the Horn: The case of ethnic extremism in Ethiopia’ July 2019).

So, the Nobel Laureate has now a lot of work ahead. There is worrying signs, which is old problems entangled in the reactions to the acts done by this Prime Minister. PM Abiy never had it easy, his acts has shown good signs, but still heavy slopes to cross before his come to terms with everything.

This is a balancing act, which very few would succeed. There are plenty of traps, possible short-falls and lack of results. However, the PM did well with the peace agreement made with Eritrea. Even if his not alone doing, as it was prepared by the previous leadership and also in accordance with the Eritrean counterparts. What will also be interesting, if this man who works for peace will able to configure the trouble ahead of the up-coming election.

Because, the ethnic violence, the government sanctioned one and the in-action, which has made certain damning results. The amount of displaced people, the rising conflicts between ethnic groups on their borders of their regions. Combined with lack of support and ensure that this doesn’t happen. The PM could have done more with this, as he could follow advice on reforming certain part of security organizations. This shouldn’t be hidden, as the share amount of people whose hurt by these actions should worry the EPRDF and the PM.

All of these acts is not a sign of strength, but of a weakened state. Unless, the PM addresses this and looks into it. Unless, he is earning political capital from certain parties while making them fighting each other. But that should be a gamble, nobody wanting to play. Especially, someone who wants to look as a man for peace and not a person who is possibly triggering groups against each other. Peace.

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