Violent Dissolution Threatens Ethiopia: Who is Responsible?
By Moosisaa Oosaa | March 04, 2021
If Ethiopia breaks up, which is looking more and more likely with every passing day, the world needs to take note that this state of affairs was initiated NOT by rightly disgruntled nations, nationalities and peoples in Ethiopia putting forward unreasonable demands. Abiy Ahmed and Amhara ethno-nationalist (neo-neftegna) political elites in the center must be held responsible for paving the path to Ethiopia’s very likely violent dissolution by subjecting it to unprecedented ethnic conflicts and internal population displacements in pursuit of hegemony over the fragile state.
Under Abiy Ahmed’s leadership, Amhara ethno-nationalists are challenging the federal arrangement, and seek to re-establish Amhara hegemony over the federal state by getting rid of Ethiopia’s multi-national federal constitution. They hate the fact that devolving power to the regions by means of a new constitution in 1995 has deprived them of their hegemony over the state. Ever since, they have worked hard to alter this state of affairs by employing two mutually reinforcing strategies.
First, they have fanned a strong ethnonational consciousness among the Amhara population, resulting in a feeling of having been suppressed under multinational federal system – a feeling they are actively manipulating. Under the guise of keeping Ethiopia united, a euphemism for returning Ethiopia to its former state dominated by one-culture, one-language and one-religion, and in the name of protecting Amhara rights, Abiy Ahmed and his cohorts are working to legitimize his “Medemer” (unionist) aims using their most powerful weapons – the Ethiopian National Defense and Security Forces, the Amhara Regional Special Forces, and an invading army from Eritrea.
Secondly, as if Ethiopia’s century old problems started just three decades ago with the introduction of the current constitution, Abiy Ahmed and his cohorts are working hard to portray, to the international community, Ethiopia’s multinational Federal constitution as the root of all evils taking place in Ethiopia. They would have the world believe violent conflicts are inherent in multi-national federal systems. To convince the world that this is the case, they have maliciously, and deliberately instigated and managed various conflicts across the empire among nations and nationalities, and have been blaming it on the multi-national federal system – which is essentially identical to the ones under which Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, India and many others not just live peacefully but prosper and thrive because of it.
A typical example of a GoE instigated and managed conflict is the one that followed the assassination of Hacalu Hundessa, in which, by one conservative estimate, 123 citizens were killed, 70% of them at the hands of GoE security forces.
According to Tilahun Yami’s (the alleged Hacalu Hundessa killer) recorded testimony, smuggled out of his prison cell, having witnessed Hacalu’s murder, he contacted Ethiopian authorities to provide information that would have helped solve the murder. It was then that he was put under arrest, tortured to admit to a crime he never committed, and was ordered to implicate Col. Gemechu Ayana of the OLF and Jawar Mohammed of OFC as his co-conspirators in the commission of Hacalu’s murder. Unable to bear the physical and mental torture inflicted on him by GoE security forces, he provided them with false confession.
Following Hacalu’s assassination, there are credible indications that the GoE hired hooligans to impersonate Qeeroo (Oromo youth) and to trigger what they wished to be “ethnic and religious war” – a false flag operation – between Oromo and Amhara peoples, and between Christians and Muslims.
In the chaos that ensued, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report of January 1, 2021, “Survivors and witnesses … recount how sometimes police stood watching [idly] as the attacks took place.” Because government security forces refused to protect victims, having said that “higher ups gave no order to intervene”, a survivor was reported as saying ”It did not feel like we had a government! ”. In other words, having instigated conflicts by using hired thugs to impersonate Qeerroo and wreak havoc, the GoE ordered its security forces to stand down and refrain from maintaining order. The EHRC report goes on to say that GoE security forces “even went inside medical institutions and harassed, including by threatening medical professionals, and barred victims from getting medical help.” Moreover, the GoE “security forces employed disproportionate force” and, as a result, “passersby, bystanders observing from their doorsteps, young people, elderly people stepping in to mediate, and people with mental illnesses, and even police officers – lost their lives” from gunshot wounds despite having no participation in the unrest.”. Of the 123 deaths, reported by EHRC, over 70% of them were committed by GoE security forces.
By fanning and manipulating bigoted, violent and intolerant feeling of Amhara nationalism and working to dismantle the multinational constitution, Abiy Ahmed and his cohorts have defeated democratic option in Ethiopia and paved the path to the country’s violent dissolution.
Today, Ethiopia is going through unprecedented internal displacements and conflicts all planned and executed by the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and its neo-neftegna cohorts. Armed conflicts are raging between Ethiopian federal and its allied forces from Eritrea and the Amhara region, on the one hand, and forces of nations and nationalities defending and asserting their rights to self-government and self-determination. Oromia has been under martial law for the last two and a half years. Benishangul-Gumuz has been under attack for many months. The world is just now waking up to the realities of widespread violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights laws, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, being perpetrated by the GoE and its allies against innocent civilians in various parts of the country, most notably in Tigray. Even the US government, Ethiopia’s stalwart ally, has been demanding that GoE and the Amhara militia stop “leading a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing“ and that their ally, the Eritrean army, leave the country immediately. UN leaders are alleging war crimes in Tigray.
A full-scale humanitarian crisis has been unfolding in Ethiopia as GoE instigated armed conflicts drive tens of thousands of refugees to flee the country – many of them women and children. According to a recent UN update, more than 2.2 million people have been displaced. At the same time that it is producing refugees, the GoE is also failed its international obligation to protect the more than 96,00 Eritrean refugees sheltered in four camps in Tigray.
Ethiopia’s bilateral and multilateral relations with the international community is deteriorating. The EU has withheld $109 mil in aid and $130 mil in budgetary support, respectively, in protest, and amid mounting fears the conflict could spread beyond the Horn region. The G7 Foreign Ministers have put out a statement condemning “killing of civilians, sexual and gender based violence, indiscriminate shelling and the forced displacement of residents of Tigray and Eritrean refugees” and insisting on “transparent and impartial investigation.”
Economic growth is at a standstill in Ethiopia. Conflicts have caused several companies to suspend operations and factories to be closed; The GoE is routinely blocking communication to stifle popular voice and hide its crimes from the international community, all contributing to the economic downturn. The IMF has forecast 0% GDP growth in real terms in 2021.
After illegally postponing the national elections planned for August 2020 under the pretext of the Covid-19 pandemic, the GoE is now planning to hold one on June 5, 2021, after conveniently herding opposition party leaders and their supporters into prison camps under various trumped up charges and pretexts. There is no level playing field in the country for opposition parties to engage in campaigning for offices. As a result, many popular parties, including the OLF and the OFC, have been forced to pull out citing obstacles put in their ways by the GoE. Today, the Oromo nation, the most populace of the 10 regional states, is not represented by any serious opposition party, and is partly governed under Martial law. By all indications, elections will not be held in Tigray due to lack security. The state of affairs as they stand today in Ethiopia are not conducive to a free and fair elections. Regardless, the GoE continues to insist holding sham elections in which it is predetermined that it will win a 100% of the seats.
By all indications, Ethiopia is in the middle of a civil war, and is moving slowly but surely on a course to a Yugoslav-style of disintegration. The Amhara ethno nationalists are the Serb ethno nationalists of the late Yugoslavia. They want to return to the privileged position they enjoyed during the imperial era which they dominated, and in which they forced their identity on other nations and nationalities in the empire. The other nations’ and nationalities’ memory of the imperial era is one of centralization of power in the hands of Amhara elites, oppression, dispossession and cultural erasure to which they will resist by any means necessary to return.
As a result, Ethiopia is coming apart at the seams for which the international community must hold responsible NOT nations and nationalities fighting for their legitimate rights, but Abiy Ahmed and Amhara ethno-nationalist (neo-neftegna) political elites paving the path to Ethiopia’s very likely violent dissolution by subjecting it to unprecedented internal population displacements and ethnic conflicts in pursuit of hegemony over the fragile state.
The international community should take note NOW!
 Moosisaa Oosaa is a student of politics as both philosophy and history, and lives in the USA.