Opinion: Abiy released Political Prisoners to salvage his image

One of the reasons the African Heads of State decided to host this year’s AU summit in Addis Ababa was that they have come to see that Ethiopia is not like what others talk about. Ethiopia is hosting thousands of its Diaspora who are enjoying their vacation peacefully and prisoners are being released. This gesture brought forth the image that this country has a hope. This was image we created which led Addis Ababa to host the AU summit. It was a difficult trial for us” – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (17.01.2022).

When the Federal Government released some political prisoners earlier this month. They have only done it with one intention and not remedy any stances or buy peace. No, the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali with his own words are saying the quiet part loud, which is very clear here. It is not for national dialogue … or for reforms, but for posture… and that is a tragic take, but it is what the PM is stating here.

As image goes… he continued with a lot more in the speech, which shows his real stance and not the deliberate use of the political prisoners for the benefit of dialogue or for making things better in the conflict. Therefore, what his saying further is very interesting…

No government body asked me to arrest these men in the first place and no government body had asked me to release them. I am telling you the truth. This is not something related with outsiders. However, with regards to prisoners in general, we had multiple discussions” (…)let me tell you one example. When the enemy [TPLF] reached Debre Sina few of our officials suggested the idea of releasing prisoners for fear that TPLF would release them if it captures Addis Ababa. We rejected the suggestion. We will ensure TPLF would not enter Addis Ababa. Even if it enters, let the TPLF release them but we will not release them now and allow the humiliation of Ethiopia” (…) “I want you to understand that this is something that has been going on for some time. We also discussed this issue during the Prosperity Party Executive Committee meeting a month before their release. We agreed that the way to defeat an enemy is not just by attacking but also through a gesture of goodwill. We decided to continue the discussion down our ranks. I also remember in Addis Ababa the discussion held with religious leaders, businesspeople and the scholars. Every regional state has discussed this issue. It is not acceptable to say the decision is a surprise. We have discussed this for more than a month” (…) In all honesty, we wanted to achieve a political objective by releasing prisoners but we did not discuss specific individuals. I had no idea who was going to be released even when we had the meeting with the Federal Ministers [Jan 06]. The Attorney General said it has decided to release them after it conducted its own studies” (Abiy, 17.01.2022).

It is all part of ploy and clearly the leaders has been selected by the state. Which they knew could create headlines and sell “hope”. They wouldn’t pick random activists or political prisoners of low-level tier in the banned or opposition parties, which has been blocked or not been able to operate by the Federal Government.

What is striking in the same speech, he says it’s released to give a spirit of hope and to get outsiders to participate in the African Union Head of State in Addis Ababa this year. That is having influence of outsiders. To make it look all good, but he later says it wasn’t related to outsiders… that doesn’t add up… and the PM cannot have it both ways. He can either do one or the other… but not both. That isn’t working. One is a lie and the other is the truth. The matter of how proud he is of having AU Heads of State Summit. Makes it believe to be the thing, as we know the PM likes to bash in glory and be the centre of attention.

We are further seeing no concessions or plans to concede to their enemies or parties of the conflict. That is very obvious here, as we know the state have ceased direct combats, but is still using drones and affiliate armies to fight for them. Therefore, the conflict or warfare isn’t over. Neither in the Tigray or in Oromia. Therefore, the PM is false-flagging … and his continuing to kill civilians to win points with his allies.

The political objective was to sell a “false hope” and promise of better future, but that is just an image or a publicity stunt. As there is nothing else to gain but an international conference in the capital. Because, the PM wants to be the big-man and have all the flashing lights. There is no usage of them political prisoners as a bargain chip for AU. That is really it and it’s tragic…

So, the ones that has believes in the Commission and the National Dialogue is foolish. When the PM is stating it this obviously for the whole world to see and I wonder why it doesn’t face backlash. As this is speaking out loudly and arrogantly about the recent events. Mohammed Jawar and Bekele Gerba are just tools for the small objective pieces of silver, which is all the PM sought for. Peace.

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