Oromo Scholars and Professionals on the impending human catastrophe in Ethiopia
To whom it may concern:
The Oromo Scholars and Professionals, an ad hoc group of over 80 academicians, scientists, medical doctors, and other professionals residing in North America, Europe, and Australia, is writing this letter to alert you to the impending human catastrophe in Ethiopia. The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whose mandate to govern Ethiopia expired in September 2020, is dragging the country into major internal and regional conflicts. Ethnic strife within Ethiopia is at its highest and conflict with neighboring countries are on the verge of exploding. Most of these conflicts are rooted in the misguided policies of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Unless corrective actions are taken by the international community immediately, Ethiopia will face a certain human tragedy that could surpass the Rwanda genocide.
The latest move by Mr. Ahmed involves an illegal break in on May 3rd, 2021 into the residence of Mr. Dawud Ibsa, chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), one of the major political parties that commands massive support in Oromia and draws millions of supporters in Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz and Harari regional states of Ethiopia. The OLF contributed a lion’s share in the demise of the barbaric TPLF/EPRDF regime in 2018 that also propelled Abiy Ahmed into the premiership. The OLF leaders returned home from exile the same year, hoping to participate in and contribute to creating a more just and democratic system in Ethiopia, trusting that Mr. Abiy Ahmed and his leadership team were genuinely reformed.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister walked back on his promises of reform and took several dangerous political missteps that stumbled the country from its course to democracy. However, his latest jolt had touched the core of the Oromo people and could lead to an inconceivable response. Information received from reliable sources indicates that Addis Ababa police and the military illegally raided Mr. Dawud’s residence in the capital under cover of darkness. They reportedly confiscated electronic communication and processing devices, documents, other valuable items and cash belonging to Mr. Dawud and the Party he leads. While the illegal break-in and removal of properties were in progress, guns and heavy weapons were fired uninterrupted to intimidate Mr. Dawud’s supporters from reaching his residence to defend their leader. Mr. Dawud’s guests, relatives, and security guards at the scene or in the residence during the raid were reportedly severely beaten, and four persons were arrested the following day.
We believe that Mr. Ahmed’s latest action is part of his grand plan to silence voices against the genocide being perpetrated throughout the country and the election fiasco he is pursuing. In August 2020, Mr. Ahmed used a bogus reason of the COVID-19 pandemic to postpone the scheduled election. Even though COVID-19 cases and deaths are at an all-time high in Ethiopia at present, Mr. Ahmed is now insisting on holding a sham election on June 5, 2021. Thus, it is not farfetched to conclude that the overarching purpose of the postponement of the election in August 2020 was not due to COVID-19 as claimed by the regime but to eliminate potential credible competitors that the Prime Minister sees as a threat to his chances of staying in power. He has imprisoned several leaders of the OLF and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), another major Oromo political party, and kept them incommunicado despite a court order to release them. Tens of thousands of OLF and OFC members have also been incarcerated, hundreds have been killed, and almost all of their offices closed.
Ethiopia, in its history, has come across crossroads multiple times but navigated through primarily due to the deep culture of tolerance among its mass bases. But that card is overplayed, and the patience of the mass base is running out. The dream of Mr. Abiy Ahmed’s and his handlers to restore the old and rejected a unitary system that promotes one language, one religion, and one culture is not realistic in modern Ethiopia. This misguided policy has been a reason for pitting different ethnic groups against each other over the last three years of his administration, resulting in the highest internal displacement in the country’s history. If the current turn of events is allowed to continue, Ethiopia might face unimaginable human tragedy that can destabilize the entire region. We want to put the international community on notice that time is running out to avert the impending catastrophe. As scholars and professionals who research and write on Ethiopia’s history, politics, culture and governance policy, we would be happy to work with any group to address the root causes of the problems in Ethiopia and help the country navigate through the looming crises.
Oromo Scholars and Professionals