The words of a sitting head of government matter
Yesterday, the Ethiopian leader said,
“We Ethiopians, we need to understand that before we fight and stop outsiders, cleansing & stopping traitors is an imperative & a priority.” This was preceded by another incendiary claim:
“Traitors today, just like when Italians invaded us, who do not feel that they have done something or have succeeded unless they sell or attack their mother (country), have been identified as the weaknesses and enemies of Ethiopia’s prosperity.”
When a sitting Prime Minister uses these kinds of dangerous and irresponsible words, how are these words understood by those who work for him, including the military, police & security forces? How do these views inform the workings of government functionaries at various levels of the state?
Abiy was never elected by the Ethiopian people. He does not even have the questionable mandate Hailemariam, or his other predecessors had.
By what constitutional authority or popular mandate can this PM define his political opponents as traitors and calls for their cleansing? What makes his political positions patriotic while all other positions are traitorous or treasonous. What exactly is the idea of state or government or law that informs this PM’s worldviews? To my mind, a traitor is someone who betrayed one’s country and a country is a function of the social contract – in our case, the FDRE constitution. If that is our point of departure (as it should be), on what terms can this PM, who demonised the constitution, and acted contrary to its terms and spirits, labels others as traitors or enemies of the state?
The PM mismanaged the transitional opportunity created by the sacrifice of the Oromo youth. He betrayed the trust they put on him (clear case of treachery here) and led the country down the path of violence and destruction. He bears primary and ultimate responsibility for the crisis. Most importantly, it is dangerous and irresponsible for any sitting PM to resort to language that will have consequences for the safety and well-being of many.
– Awol Kassim Allo