Ethiopia’s Circles of Power: A Politics of Coercion and Control.
Ethiopia’s political power structure is built on a history of violence and its rule often characterized by large-scale repression, expansionism and subjugation of certain communities.
Contemporary Ethiopia armed with a Noble Peace Prize isn’t any different. The large-scale destruction of the Tigray region: universities, factories, burning of crops, weaponizing rape, gruesome killings, and mass graves all have ethnic dimensions.
Any resistance is met with a hallmark state brutality–no matter the grievances of the opposing side. Tyranny is in the system’s DNA.
Somali region and its people have borne the brunt of that large-scale military oppressions and tranny in the past. Mass graves are dotted in the region. To now, no accountability. The tears for justice are fresh and wet.
Somali region enjoys a lull from that oppression, at least for now. But think twice. Will ONLF take up arms in post-election dispute, state violence and collective punishment will be swiftly deployed.
And the pliable, corrupt elite in the Somali region will re-open Jail Ogaden and torture alleged ONLF sympathizers. Let’s hope the Somali region’s PP rigs the election peacefully. Rig they will.
Control and coercion is the default mode of each generation of Ethiopian rulers; compromise and peaceful conflict resolution among opposing political powers is a rare commodity.
It has been politics of vengeance, dominance, and destruction. The use of soft power or striking a mutually beneficial political outcome is not the norm. Ironically, state violence is often justified with divine and religious explanations.
As a result, Ethiopia’s politics is plagued by periodic volatility and insecurity and large-scale human suffering. All avoidable politician-made calamities.
It’s a control-oriented political system: the state controls the narrative however absurd the narrative may be. The culture of militarism and violence is the modus operandi.
Today we see regression of civil liberties and weaponizing of the judiciary and security structures to silence opponents and critics.
Quality-of-governance concerns, democratic reform, and human rights are deprioritized.
The ruling PP monopolizes power and expects every region to align itself— just like Meles’s era –with the political viewpoint of the PM. The opposition is already excluded from the political competition and process. Not surprisingly, the probability of a fair election has been fading away.
It’s difficult to distinguish the GOVERNMENT and the RULING PARTY, PP–Just as it was under TPLF/EPDRF. The two have fused together. The consequence: the Ethiopian state remains an exclusively weaponized tool for the ruling party.
In this concentric circular power structure with its different rings of influence, those connected to the party ( PP) power remain untouchables. The economic and political interests of these groups are limitless.
Somali region is a small DOT at the periphery of this circle of power and influence. While the corrupt elites in the Somali region relatively wield enormous power compared to their deprived community, the elites are like errand boys compared to the power of central authority in Adds Ababa.
For now, good governance and accountability are a distant mirage for the Somali region. The situation is dire, and the elites are hypnotized by vision prosperity that’s only visible to their eyes.
Somali region’s administration has perfected the art of corruption, incompetency, and impunity. What a terrible attribute. So long as the elites please Adds Ababa, they are safe from any scrutiny and will not face the law for their daily fraud and corruption.
From the presidency to regional bureau heads, the amount of public money these individuals can sign and withdraw with the stroke of a pen is mind-boggling and has NO LIMIT. No checking and balance, no auditing, and no parliamentary oversight of how public money is spent.
It’s shocking how easy it’s to abuse public resources. The attack on the public resources is relentless, a financial massacre. Since the public is the victim, no consequence.
Excluding influential stakeholders from political competition provides opposition figures the opportunity to rally and mobilize supporters around ethnic identity –sparking more tension and violence.
It’s a zero-sum game. Learn to accept political competition in such a complex and diverse country; take one step at a time. It’s learnable. To Somali region’s corrupt elites: learn to stop STEALING from the public. It’s LEARNABLE.
– Kassim Haji Noor