Ethiopia: the ‘hate speech’ underlying Prime Minister Abiy’s ideology

Ethiopia: the ‘hate speech’ underlying Prime Minister Abiy’s ideology

Author: Martin Plaut

Some aspects of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s vision for his country are well known: as others have pointed out, he is a populist, who has little time for carefully worked out ideologies.

Alex de Waal, comparing Abiy’s book Medemer with the approach followed by the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) leadership, wrote:

“One of the attractions of Abiy’s philosophy of Medemer (‘synergy’ or ‘coming together’) is precisely that it lacks the intellectual rigor characteristic of the TPLF leadership and their fellow revolutionaries.

Rather, the Abiy leadership relies on a brand of evangelical Christianity that does not have deep roots in Ethiopian history. It is an American import that promises prosperity to its follows.

None of this has deterred the Prime Minister, or his vision of Rising Ethiopia.

But as the investigations into the atrocities committed by Ethiopian forces during the Tigray war are uncovered the hate speech that underpins the war needs to be highlighted.

report by the UN Human Rights Commission and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is due out on 1st November.

It needs to investigate the ideological underpinnings of these human rights abuses.

Prime Minister Abiy’s ideologues

Among those behind this is Deacon Daniel Kibret. An adviser to the Prime Minister, he was also appointed as a director of the board of the state-owned Ethiopian Press Agency, despite the reservations of many Members of Parliament.

In the past Daniel Kibret has attacked the role if Muslims in Ethiopia – complaining of the number of mosques that have been built and their role in business.

But it is his attacks on Tigrayans that are particularly concerning in the context of the current war.

He recently described them as the creation of Satan, who should be removed from history.

Daniel Kibret suggested that Tigrayans were monsters, and should be “the last of their kind.”

As has been pointed out, this is not the first time Daniel Kibret made claims of this kind.

He declared that Ethiopia was at its best when the war on Tigray was raging and thousands of civilians were being massacred by Eritrean mercenaries and Amhara militia during a total communication blackout.

It is not difficult to see where this ends…it was the hate speech by the Hutu extremists, who called the Tutsi “cockroaches” that resulted in the Rwandan genocide.

In 2016 the Rwandan who promoted these toxic terms was jailed for life.

It is important that the report on human rights abuses during the Tigray war does not flinch from naming those responsible for stirring up this hatred.