Ethiopia: The Prime Minister’s Gambles
Abiy Ahmed is a gambler. He takes risks. Some of his past gambles were good and had paid off but his latest gamble risks plunging the country into its depths. He might see this crisis as an opportunity to further consolidate power by eliminating his adversaries and muzzling critical voices. The attempts of his government to blame all his political adversaries – Egypt, TPLF, OLF-Shanee, Jawar/OMN as a part of a joint enterprise carefully crafted to destabilize Ethiopia is one of the earliest indication of this. It is laughable but can be an excellent smokescreen to move against his political foes.
The political show trial against Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba and others, and the widespread crackdown against critical voices bears the hallmarks of a witch hunt orchestrated by the regime to expunge its political foes from the political sphere. Just like EPRDF 1 perverted the institutions of law and order, Abiy’s Prosperity Party is instrumentalising the justice system to achieve political ends. This must worry anyone who believes in democracy and the rule of law as values worth upholding.
I am all for accountability and justice but this is an essentially political problem that requires a political solution. The country is on the brink and the PM is not showing leadership. But he still can. He can release all prisoners, and work towards an all-inclusive national dialogue that would chart Ethiopia’s path to political settlement and democracy.