Election 2020: Hopes & Abiy Factors
(By Tullu Liban)
We have just concluded 2019. Today marks day one of 2020. Everyone hopes to live a better life (improve, grow, overcome hurdles, achieve something unique in the new year). Let it be so! At a macro level, we are also mindful of our country’s situation. We wish to get rid of dreadful pitfalls of the just concluded year and failures we have encountered as a nation. We wish to have a stable, peaceful and promising country. I can’t say 2019 was a great year of success for Ethiopia and for Oromo in particular. It has been so murky and so unpleasant- full of conflicts, evictions and killings. Of course, there were lots of feasts and dances around the palace of “King the 7th”.
Let’s wish the year we are entering to will bring us much hopes than despair. However, we shouldn’t be bold enough to express our concerns over potential drawbacks. Here is my take.
Federalist forces are becoming convincingly assertive. The quest for equality and self-rule is gaining momentum. Wolayita, Kaffa, Kambata, Hadiya and Guragie peoples are demanding regional status and Qimant and Agaw may claim the same status with other Kushites in the north or at least other northern communities will gain a better autonomy than what they have now. This will bolster changes sought by the federalist block. Mythology will no longer dominate the narrative about the Ethiopian state.
Oromo political forces (PP excluded for it a replica of EEMA) will revamp harmony, reading one another and fostering merger or collation. If not, we believe they would make a negotiated constituency sharing by extension power sharing in the post-election period. The fact that Oromo political parties, particularly OFC, OLF and ONP are preparing to vie either independently (with certain level of consensus) or as a coalition will make the election process smooth and the power balance acceptable.
Jawar Mohammed, the uncontested influential plyer, is in a real politics now and he will attract lots of energetic, delivering, passionate and knowledgeable Qeeros and Qerrees. His involvement in party politics will inspire them for active responsibility, giving hope to believe in future and encouraging them take part in politics. The youth will get more organized and become more principle guided with iron discipline building much on the experience of the protest time.
The amalgamation of Oromo political forces and constituency sharing (voter apportioning by consensus) would set an example for competing parties in other regions as well thereby pacifying tensions surrounding elections.
Matured consciousness and determination of the general public is so promising to protect vote rigging as opposed to the previous sham elections. On top of that, Abiy Ahmed is under the watch of the world, with critical scrutiny. It is not that easy for Abiy PP to rig election results like the TPLF time.
PP of Abiy Ahmed is out of the heart and mind of the Oromo people merely because of its contempt for the Oromo people and its day to day crimes against Oromo interest. The fact that OPDO of yesterday and PP of today refused to answer a single Oromo question is a blessing in disguise. There will be no room for the bunch of criminals to be elected to hold helm of power in Oromia. There will be no reason to vote for OPDO that has been looting, harassing and killing the Oromo people during the TPLF era and after. The PP that rejected Oromo and Oromummaa, even ashamed of carrying a prefix “O” attached to its name has no place in Oromia. PP is an organization that publicly declared it promotes individual rights, not collective rights, against decades Oromo quest for collective rights. Goodbye PP for you wasted golden opportunity to redress your stupid crimes against the Oromo people.
I sympathize with Lemma Megerssa, Teyiba Hussine, Chaltu Sani and many Oromo nationalists in OPDO who made us to give that useless organization the benefit of the doubt. Sorry Obbo Lemma, you made a fatal mistake when you passed over the chance premiership to a wrong man. A hypocritic person, who cheated not only you but also the Oromo people. I hope sensible Oromo nationalists will desert fans of emperors who conquered and subjugated Oromo people and the southern masses. I hope you will join political parties where you can fit best.
Fears: The Abiy Factors
A. Deliberate avoidance of a transitional roadmap
No doubt, most of the ups and downs we have gone through are the products of misguided policies applied over the years. However, problems that we have experienced since Abiy Ahmed has come to power are grounded in Abiy’s deliberate avoidance of a clear, agreeable strategy for the period of the transition. One can argue that Abiy disregarded to formulate a working strategy as to how to take the country forward to the next stage. Abiy rejected the call for a roadmap because of his ambition to cling to power through deception, mediocrity and crisis. If he outlined the transitional process, it would been difficult for him to breach the guidelines agreed up on. Now there is no accountability for whatever course of action he introduces and whatever path he takes. He is abided neither by the existing constitution nor by a set of rules agreed up on that could have been put in place for the transition period.
B. Mapping Ethiopia in the past myths
Abiy drives his guidance from archaic mythology. He tries to solve political problems of Ethiopia with failed approaches. His approach is not only unworkable but also very dangerous to build futuristic Ethiopia. He became a liability instead of a solution because of unrealistic, counterproductive approach he chose. He added insult to injury while we have enough to worry about from what we have already inherited from his predecessors.
If Ethiopia disintegrates Abiy takes a lion’s share. He will be a number one ringleader of the grim ahead of us. Abiy Ahmed, a man who suddenly came from nowhere to the political scene is flying in fantasy with no feasible vision to solve entrenches of contradictions in the Ethiopian politics. He is obsessed with a defeated, expired and impractical narrative, the narrative of Abyssinian debteras which mixes Amhara patriotist, nostalgist and mythologist views. He extracts his “Ethiopian” dreams from falsehood, unrealistic and uncompromising northern parchments. Thus, he can never provide a lasting cure for Ethiopia’s chronic political disease.
C. Fear of real federalism, misreading of reality
Abiy fears federalism like his role models of EZEMA collection. Hence, he is anti-federalism. There are tangible indicators that he is aspiring to bring back arrangements similar to Teqilaygizat of Hailesillassie or Kifleheger of the Dergue period. His misreading of Ethiopia’s politics starts from disrespecting, undermining and discrediting nations and nationalities questions for self-rule. He is fan of the failed administration model. That is why he is obsessed with the mantra of self-appeasing showoffs like “we were great, we will become great again; we are a nation that existed for three millennia, we have built this and that obelisks” etc. To define Ethiopia as a country of nations is backward approach for Abiy and his likes. Those who are against federalism as things stand now will immediately collide with the growing assertiveness of nations self-rule and regional autonomy question. They are doing antithesis of the reality on the ground and their futile attempt will make the time ahead so trying
D. Lust for power
Abiy is a power monger. He tells you he will willfully leave office if defeated. My hunch tells me otherwise. He will fill the pork barrel with money obtained from international agencies and tries his best to buy votes. All what he has been doing over the last two years are indirect election campaign. Even the recent road construction launch from Jimma to Limmu is an election campaign. He is sure he will not win election in Oromia. But with resources at his disposal, including loans and donations from worldwide, a lot of money will be invested to buy voters, observers and media outlets. No doubt he missed the target in Oromia so long Oromo questions are concerned. But one cannot forget that the man is a trained spy, pretentious, insincere, mediocre and authoritarian as well. He pretends to be a democrat. He is not. All his efforts are centered at power perpetuation.
E. False self-image
Abiy seems to deceive himself by praises from henchmen and townhall speech applauds. He flies in voids by fantasy emboldened by cadres and opportunists’ flattery. Such gullible stature would, no doubt, creates serious concerns as to whether he transits this nation to a next stage or whether he indulges it into endless crisis. We have suffered a lot of losses thus far mainly due to his confused and misguided approach to domestic politics. One cannot, however, undermine his international reputation and his relentless efforts on foreign diplomacy including resolving the Ethio-Eritean stalemate.
F. Alliance with EZEMA-eta al
Abiy’s affiliation to EZEMA et al and the influence the EZEMA camp exerted on him made other options difficult to envision Ethiopia. As things stand now there is no shared vision, common goal and aspiration to frame Ethiopia in the coming years. One cannot imagine how the country moves forward when there is no agreement on very rudimentary issues like whether Ethiopia a finished project or a country under formation. There is no agreement whether Ethiopia a country with 3000 years history or a 130+ year polity. No one is sure as to where we want to take the miserable empire in the next 10 years. I don’t rely on Abiy’s utopianism and that of his confused cadres. We need to be pragmatic. Amhara and the Oromo elites are in a constant battle on history. The southern elites by and large share by and large Oromo elites’ views for the southern people were under serfdom, had common pains and experiences after the formation of the Ethiopian empire. Therefore, unless we sit down and reach consensus regarding the very country we all want to exist, live in and hand down to our children and grandchildren, unless we are able to rebrand Ethiopia with a new spirit in the year 2020, it will not be a healthy and better years.