“With little training, Ethiopians rallied to the ‘mother’s call’ – the mother country cry for protection against the enemy. The Derg government offered a call for a short time and made it by bringing back respect of the country. It is in our history to pay for our country’s sacrifice and sacrifice ourselves for our country. Soon enough the invaders felt the wrath and the blade of Ethiopian heroes who were prepared to go to any length and sacrifice to defend their motherland. Within a short period, not only was the Somalia invader defeated but the territorial integrity, sovereignty and respect of the nation was restored in full. Rubbed the wrong way, the lion roars, the true Ethiopian rises to glory” (Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, 05.03.2020).
I don’t have the answers here. This is loosely translated from his Facebook post. However, the way it mentions thing it started me to question things and look into it. He celebrated the Karamara victory, the one where Ethiopia successfully where able to annex the Ogaden or the Somali region of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Therefore, it is hot topic to begin with, as the Ethiopian are seen as invaders and as colonizers of the region to begin with.
It is reason why its called the Somali region or Ogaden. Because, it’s belonging to the Federal Republic of Somalia. Now, its been like this ever since, ever since the loss of the war. Still, there are Ethiopian forces fighting for Mogadishu government at the mercy of Addis Ababa. This is known, so for the Prime Minister to celebrate this. Really, shows there are some aims at supremacy for the Prosperity Party and the Prime Minister.
He recalls old glories and even uses wordings, that former Dictator Megistu used to rally up the forces for the “Red Terror”. Using wordings that resembles the battle-cry of the DERG. For me that is weird. Not patriotic, but a sign that the man isn’t that peaceful after all.
Small fragments of the “Call of the Motherland”:
“Mengistu took a war-like stance against these threats in the aftermath of the coup on February 3, 1977. A communique issued in the name of the Derg on the following day pointed out that Ethiopian progressives (members of Mengistu’s coalition) had been unable to take action against the counter-revolutionaries because of the dominance of the reactionaries and their supporters in the Derg? it then stated that the revolution’s strategy would, from that day, be transformed from the defensive into the offensive. In his address to a rally held on the same day, Mengistu condemned Teferi and his faction, EPRP, EDU, the Eritrean Liberation Forces, the conservative states of the region and imperialism as enemies of the Ethiopian revolution. In his address at another rally on April 12, Mengistu again condemned the same forces and asked the Ethiopian people to rally around the banner of ‘Call of the Motherland’ and fight the enemies of the revolution” (ANDARGACHEW TIRUNEH – The Ethiopian Revolution (1974 to 1984), P: 285-286, 1990).
“Government dailies had a section of their front-page devoted to the “Call of the Revolutionary Motherland” from the beginning of May 1977. From the outset, the media campaign combined calls for the defense of territorial integrity with encouragements to denounce internal opponents. See e.g. Ethiopian Herald, 3 May 1977, ‘Call of Motherland: to defend the frontiers, to protect the revolution and to increase production’” (Jacob Wiebel – ‘Revolutionary Terror Campaigns in Addis Ababa, 1976-1978’, 2014).
“French MilAtt was informed March 5 by Soviet MilAtt that Jijiga had been recaptured that morning. Soviet also confirmed that Kara Mara Pass had fallen to Ethiopians. French MilAtt believed that major thrust toward Jijiga was from NNW and was combined Ethiopian-Cuban operation. French MilAtt further stated that Ethiopians took heavy casualties” (Office of the Historian – ‘69. Telegram From the Embassy in Ethiopia to the Department of State’ Addis Ababa, March 6, 1978, 1407Z 1054. Subj: Ethiopian Forces Recapture Strategic Ogaden Town of Jijiga. Ref: Addis Ababa 1025).
So, for someone calling himself a reformist and a man whose mission is to make the Republic better. He surely brings back memory of a regime and a type of government he shouldn’t associate himself with. Especially, this is a insult to the Somali and Somalia. They have answered this. Even Oromo leader Mohammad Jawar has addressed it. Therefore, the backlash has occurred.
Still, there is need to ask if this is a gaffe or an intended approach by the Prime Minister. As he has created his “one-party” ahead of elections and with statements like these. He will gain supporters and show flex. However, his also reminding people of a bloody past. A past where the state used terror against dissidents and used all means to stay in power. Therefore, the Prime Minister should consider that.
That its that easy to think in this direction, by the words and wording in his statement. Should boggle us in 2020. As he should not rewrite and praise the Derg, but instead condemn it and their ill-actions. The ramifications plenty of people are still living with today. The EPRDF has used techniques the Derg did too.
As his supposed to reform, he should know better. However, seemingly he wants this messages out. I just question it. As it sparks some memories and his wording isn’t making it better. Especially, when his trying to be a peacemaker in the region. Instead, this way his just another imperialist with in sheep’s cloth. A hidden wolf awaiting his time eat. Peace.
There are sometimes ironies in life. Today that comes from Addis Ababa and Ethiopia. Where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali was supposed to reform things. However, with time that isn’t sincere and today the nail in coffin of that was with a disingenuous law. Laws like these aren’t to save the nations from certain speech, but to muffle critics and opposition.
The Prosperity Party and the Prime Minister are really showing that there is no difference in them compared to the previous regimes, which it came from. This is happening in the months ahead of elections. So, expect the leadership of opposition and journalists to be arrested because of this law. As there are easy steps to be hit by this sort of law. Because of this, I am first dropping the key news about the law, before a simple explanation of the “Medemer” and after that breaking it quickly down.
The State own report on it:
“Addis Ababa, February 13, 2020 (FBC) –Ethiopian parliament today approved a hate speech and disinformation prevention and suppression law. The law was approved with a majority vote, 23 against and 2 abstentions” (…) “It is also intended to control and suppress the dissemination and proliferation of hate speech, disinformation and other related false and misleading information. The law prohibits disseminating hate speech by means of broadcasting, print or social media using text, image, audio or video” (Fana Broadcasting Company – ‘House approves hate speech and disinformation prevention law’ 13.02.2020).
What is Medemer:
“Since reformist Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed came into office, his concept ‘Medemer’ has become a phrase of common currency within Ethiopia’s political landscape. ‘Medemer’ literally means ‘adding’ or ‘being added’ based on how its read, and contextually means to come together. According to the Prime Minister, ‘Medemer’ is a homegrown approach that aims to solve the country’s challenges by bringing together polar views, and finding compromise” (Ethiopian Press Agency – ‘Inside ‘Medemer’’ 13.01.2020).
This law is clearly aimed at the ones not speaking their language or their rhetoric, as they can charge and make their expression illegal. As they will control the media, the public online and elsewhere. That is why this is totally opposite of the ideals of ‘Medemer’, as that was to bring together polar views and find compromises.
Now, the state is instead made way to stifle the voices, instead of listening they can ban and make voices illegal. Even if there are ethnic hate-speech, if there is tribal sentiment growing. This law will be most likely hit the dissidents and opposition.
This is the opposite of finding compromise and it’s actually silencing them. If this would target Mohammad Jawar’s Oromo Media Network or Eskinder Nega for that matter. I wouldn’t shocked, if they got into trouble for something they wrote or stated online. Neither, if some media forums like Tigrai Online or Aiga Forum for that matter. Don’t be shocked, if these would be banned or seen as illegal by the authorities ahead of the elections. Because, they just need to write or state something online, which is deemed as disinformation, hate-speech and you got it cracking.
This wasn’t a move of reform, but of going back. They might renamed themselves the Prosperity Party, but this is the old-EPRDF oppressive style of move. Peace.
The picture isn’t as rosy or hopeful as when he took power. Prime Minister Abiy Ali Ahmed has spoiled his opportunity to make significant changes. Instead he has focused on consolidating power. Ensuring his men is in-charge in Amhara. Continuing to use force and Command Post in Oromia. Still persistent violence in the Ogaden. While, he still has flex and popularity abroad. Which is only there because of the PR and positive press surrounding him.
PM Abiy have reformed the Ethiopian People’s Defence Front (EPRDF), first making it Oromia based and taking away power from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). To now start it as one entity, the Prosperity Party (PP) without the TPLF. The other parties has joined into the one party, but it shows frictions. Not only has the Oromo Liberation Front and other Oromo parties gone into an alliance. Even in Oromia, Mohammad Jawar is ahead and has a grand standing.
That means, both Oromia and Tigray are areas where the Prime Minister standing is weak. As he can only survive there on fear and intimidation. He can only get traction, if he suppress the voters and silence the voices of these regions. While Amhara whose been in conflict too, will cause issues as well. It is like the lid is open to several of places, instead of the man of peace mending these. He amplifying them to gain an advantage. Just like his using the violence of Ogaden to export oil too.
The PM has had the opportunity, but he has squandered the momentum. The killings in Addis Ababa, the horrific affairs in Oromia and Ogaden is a sign of what to come. There is no ending and the Command Post and the Liyu Police are both controlling the regions with fierce force. While the Queerro of Jawar is answering these. All of this doesn’t cease the conflict, but enhancing it. Its like he wants this to ensure enough chaos to rule supreme.
The PM could have found other ways ahead of the elections, but he seems to want it like this. That he wants to usher in new public projects every week ahead of elections. Now deals in the sphere of the horn of Africa. Look good with Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. While that will overlook the internal problems, which the PM is not solving. His only undermining it and not doing the bidding of the local leaders. The ones whose supposed to follow his medemer.
It seems his making things liberal in the sense of pleasing donors, instead of truly believing in it himself. Doing it to state enterprises to ensure donor support. Some might even call it all a “hijacked revolution”. But at this point, we cannot know.
What we do know is that the elections in August 2020 will either be free and fair or rigged to the smallest detail. Don’t expect PM Abiy to play totally fair, even if he opens up to plenty parties, but that will be for the facade, because he will not loose himself. Then he will loose the power his gained and consolidated in office.
Two years is a mighty long time in office. A lot has happen, a lot of promise and pledges, but not acted upon. The coming months will show, if it was all a play or if it can be a reality. If the PP and Abiy cares about the people or using them as pawns. We can just await, but don’t expect magic, but expect a hard reality. As the forces are still in the fields. The atrocities are still happening and the escalation of it. Is only a few small steps away and that can ordered directly from the PM.
It’s easy to speak of unity and peace, but it’s harder to actually make it happen. When the PM himself hasn’t acted upon those words, but instead amplified it in certain regions. The Ethno-politics are not over, but at a stage where the PM and his folk better be cautious and not reckless.
However, who knows what path he picks, but don’t expect it all to be fair. Instead, expect it to be fanfare and filled with empty promises. As it is not like he has delivered to the hope he spread in the beginning of his term. Peace.
That Prime Minister Dr. Ali Ahmed Abiy are currently loosing a bit of prestige at home and its very visible. His able to get through positive bills, like the recent bill on assembly and such lately. However, that doesn’t overshadow two important things for alliances and to get a bigger picture ahead of upcoming elections in 2020.
He has lost one important party, which was seen as the steering-wheel and the ones behind scenes controlling the old coalition of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Front (EPRDF), which is now created into one party, the Prosperity Party. The other parties in the old coalition has made itself into one, but the ones now joining is the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that has deemed the new party even “illegal”.
If the Prime Minister see this as a minor flinch, he should be wrong. That they are still viable and able to create trouble for him. No one should underestimate the TPLF and what they can do. Even as all the lights and stars are directed at Abiy. His still not walking alone in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE).
What makes him even more alone is from his own region, where there is still reports of killings and oppression from the state. As the endless violence persist. Something, that the former Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) could have reacted to and hasn’t acted upon. That’s why you know he has more trouble ahead. As his nemesis in Oromia, Mohammed Jawar have not only plans to join the race in the elections, but also joined the Oromo Federal Congress (OFC). Just merely a weeks after he did that. His been able to get Oromo Federal Congress, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Nationalist Party (ONP) to all be one alliance into the upcoming election.
Therefore, there is not only issues with the Tigray and the TPLF, whose not being a part of the new party. Which is a warning signal in itself. But that Jawar is able to become such a figure in Oromia. Says that Abiy doesn’t have the love in his own region, where OPDO was supposed to reside and represent in government.
I’m not defending the TPLF, no their vindictive and vicious history will be reflected in due time. But however with an upcoming election. Abiy needs as many friends as possible, if he wants to reflect positive on him. Unless, he plans to rig it like there is no tomorrow. Than, all of these movements doesn’t matter anyway. Because he will win and the Prosperity Party will be signed off as the victor. A giant launch of the One-Party State, while the others are allowed only to be mediocre parties locally, who has no say in Parliament or in the Federal system.
We should worry that TPLF and Jawar is doing what he does. Because, the undermine the central government. They are making the PP looking foolish. This is not dialogue and not the talks, this is not the acts of strength, but acts of the weak.
Debretsion Gebremichael might have the ability to sound prestigious with his party. The Press Release was a big-man statement from the Party too. However, that doesn’t change the narrative. Other than they are leaving the EPRDF legacy behind. They are the only boat steaming ahead with non of the former parties. They are becoming an opposition party, instead of being a governing party.
The PP is weaker by this. They have lost one big piece of the EPRDF. One that was historically vital to it all. The Woyane will be missed by some and cursed by others. For all the right reasons. Nevertheless, the loser here right now is Abiy. He needs his buddies. While he gets less and less. Even fewer in Oromia too. Where he get more and more united opposition there. That is what is visible and obvious.
Whatever, Abiy is doing, the state apparatus, the yes-men around him isn’t helping. His not solving or revolving the doors correctly. He is losing, one after another one. There cannot be more sudden rash coup d’etat in the regions. This election has to look real. If he wants to still look like a shining star. However, that star is dimming and its does so slowly. Peace.
There are too many issues, to much outstanding barriers to give way and easily praise the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia. I cannot with an easy heart give way, even as the fanfare and celebration of becoming a Nobel Laurate. That doesn’t overshadow the hardships, neither the wrongs of the state.
There have already been questionable behaviour of the state in Oromia since his inception as the Prime Minister. The sudden coup in Amhara and the killings there. Combined with the killings and violence in the Ogaden Region. Plus the Ethiopian Army involvement in internal affairs in Somalia.
While the deal and peace-agreement with Eritrea isn’t resolved and the issues remaining are vital to fix it. The deal of open border and questions over land still needs to be worked at.
The other issue is the up-coming election, either as it will be a rubberstamping affair or because more tension, as the former party-block of the EPRDF has become the Prosperity Party. That means they will go in as one unit, instead of one the majority of ethnic groups. Which is a honourable approach, but also a way to mask a One-Party if they tune the whole election to their benefit. Instead of letting all the other registered parties and candidates interested involved in the polls.
That is why for me its to quick. There are too many issues to just give away an award on the goodwill and possible changes he can make. Not that he has significantly changed it all. The Police and Army is still violent. The ethnic violence are still appearing and the allies of the PM is dwindling away. Therefore, it is not like he has forever the mantle and love from the public.
The PM might think he got it and he has the stamina to keep up. Nevertheless, at this point, the reforms are maybe only skin-deep. As he couldn’t muster the courage to be questioned in Oslo. He was silent and just took the award, but wasn’t transparent about it. He only wants the praise, but not the questions about his reign.
That isn’t a sign of strength. That isn’t a sign of hope, but of fear and determination to rule. Because, if he was a man of peace, he wouldn’t only spread the word, but his actions would be there too. He would have the balls and the ability to finesse the ones who are spreading the violence within his ranks and within the security outfits that does it. That is why there are so many internally displaced. So, many who has lost their livelihoods and who has family members scorned by violence.
The PM can act and have the swagger, but that does not mean it is real. That the PM got international recognition doesn’t change the questionable activity at home in Oromia, Ogaden or in Amhara. It just amplifying it. Since people feel boggled and wonder why?
So, I cannot salute this man. Not yet, especially when his not brazen or even have the gratitude of questions from the media. That should be easy picking, as so many are automatic bootlickers to the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the realities remain, the unresolved acts and the questionable activity of the Ethiopian forces within Somalia and Ogaden shouldn’t be forgotten. Neither should the questionable behaviour of the state in concern to Amhara either.
That he has made changes, yes he has, but not all has panned out and certainly Ethiopia isn’t in total peace. Neither is the border dispute with Eritrea. That is why, the PP and Abiy has more work to do. That is, if they only play for PR or the façade, but not actually achieve anything substantial in the end. Peace.