Abiy plans to head the Upcoming Election without nemesis!
The Ethiopian Electoral Board procrastinated the forthcoming election for the second time for sine die. The election board justified that, there are logistical issues and low voter registration. As NEBE announced earlier, the forthcoming Ethiopia’s election was slated to be taking place in June, 2021. The embattled PM Abiy who took the premiership in April, 2018 Wiped-out all his nemesis. He incarcerated some of them like Jawar Mohamed, who is an Oromo media mogul, Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of OLF, Shamsudeen, and house-arrested Lamma Magersa, former minister of defense, the then president of the Oromia Kilil (region). Moreover, under Abiy’s administration, the sought-after iconic musician Hachaaluu Hundeesaa was assassinated in the heart of Addis-Ababa (Finfinne) in July last year. Many people including me believed that, his killing was politically-motivated as he was inspiring his community, especially the young-Oromos through music. The slain musician used to advocate self-rule for Oromo community during the Tigray rule under the dead PM Meles Zenawi.
As a result, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) boycotted en masse to participate the election justifying that, some of their members are yet behind bars. When the Ethiopia’s house of federations procrastinated the election in last year, the Tigray defied and orchestrated their own local election in September last year. Abiy, didn’t intrude during the election in Tigray, but when they announced the result where the former ruling party of the Tigray region (TPLF) won unanimously, Abiy swamped with nullifying the result of the election and demonizing the TPLF party and its top-echelons. Abiy, as former EPRDF official, he has kept a feud against the disbanded party EPRDF, especially the Tigray officials who dominated the party. Abiy, and the fugitive former president of the Tigray region Debretsion contested within the EPRDF for the leadership of the party where Abiy was appointed.
Abiy surrendered the disputed border land, and handed-over to Eritrea. He had three-core objectives for his surrender, The first objective, Abiy was aimed at receiving international appreciation which he finally received Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. The second objective was, to invade Tigray, obliterate the TPLF officials, and supersede like-minded staunches and use them as a puppet. The third objective was, to embrace Eritrea’s de facto leader Afwerki as his tin-pot partner so they can help each other for their machinations.
In 4 November, last year, Abiy ordered officially invading Tigray region. Ethiopia’s National Defense Forces (ENDF) which is bestrode by Amharas, and Eritrean troops intruded the Tigray region. The Tigray people encountered a pincer-attack Eritrean forces from the north, and the ENDF from south. The alliance forces notoriously killed, tortured, raped, and castigated the innocent Tigrayans.
The meddling of the Eritrean forces, and machinations of Abiy in the Tigray region was, to vanquish Tigray as his political nemesis, and then rig the election. But, what he missed is, the Amhara, especially the aim of the chauvinist wing was, to defeat Tigray as their historical enemy with the camouflage of the ENDF, and then overthrow or assassinate Abiy and take the lead. In this regard, now Abiy is facing grueling challenges from the Amhara ethnic group. Apart from that, there are internecine communal-violence in the country, especially Beninshangul-Gumuz, Oromia region, Somali region and Afar, and the Tigray region which the Ethiopian defense forces and Eritrean troops are killing relentlessly the innocent Tigray people. Abiy’s callous administration didn’t listen the chorus voices of the International Humanitarian Agencies for delivering humanitarian aid to the Tigray region.
European Union (EU) canceled its observation plan in the upcoming election after the Ethiopian government has failed to fulfill the standard requirement. The reason that, Abiy’s administration didn’t fulfill the international standard is, there is an egregious voter registration fraud, and enormous irregularities within the process. The second issue is, the Tigray region is still a battle-ground, and it’s impossible to be organized an election.
In the Somali region, the incumbent president Atto Mustafa Omar, aka Cagjar is suppressing the copperhead opposition groups, especially Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) which has a deep-rooted support from the region. ONLF, and other opposition group established a new coalition which is called “Somali region’s Salvation Coalition ”. The voter registration in the Somali region is dominated by fraud, political patronage, nepotism and irregularities. The incumbent Mustafa surreptitiously has distributed the voter cards to the zones where his supporters are dominated, while he oppressed the dissenting zones, especially the zones which ONLF has a political clout.
The U.S special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman spent closely two-weeks in the region from May 4 to 13, 2021. During his trip, he met with the prime minister Abiy, and discussed with the pressing issues in the country including the upcoming election, and the festering situation in the Tigray region. Feltman stressed that, the ongoing nefarious actions which is against humanity in the Tigray region is unacceptable and intolerable. Also, he called withdrawal of the Eritrean forces in the Tigray region.
In reality, Ethiopia’s upcoming election will encounter many times delays and boycotts because of the simmering ethnic conflict across the country, the detainment of the opposition members, the exacerbating humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region, the meddling and the machinations of Abiy and Afwerki, and this will be a tinder box.
Unless all these straightjacket are fixed, the long-awaited election wouldn’t be viable.
– Anwar Abdifatah Bashir. Author and Horn of Africa Affairs Analyst