When? Ethiopia is a complex country. Some times, I think it is more like the proverbial chaos-in-equillibrium where one evil force checks another evilforce, thereby unwittingly contributing to the appearance of order at least on the surface. It’s crazy, no doubt.
No one would want to be in, much less enjoy, PM Abiy’s position. And yet, from the look of it, he alone could occupy this space at this time and survive the burn outs. I don’t think anyone else–no matter how skilled, knowledgeable, or capable–would have the temperament (i.e., the patience, the gravitas, the charm, the caution, and the restraint) the time needs. Even his lack in several areas may be an asset at this time.
That said, the questions still linger:
When is he going to stop these campaign style rallies, or these posh (often cosmetic) appointments meant only to make him look progressive, and start governing?
When is he getting to the real task of administering the country?
When is he going to enforce the rule of law?
When is going to do the basic work of guaranteeing peace and security to citizens?
When is he going to stabilize the regions? (For all practical purposes, we are already seeing signs of state collapse in Harari, Benishangul-Gumuz, and Afar. The Somali-Oromia peace deal is not followed through, and signs of a renewed conflict are too obvious to miss. The tension in the Amhara-Tigray border suggests that there may be an open confrontation unless some kind of agreement is secured in time. SNNPRS is dealing with tough demands of autonomy that call for a constitutionally aware and extremely versatile statesmen/stateswomen. Cities such as Dirre Dhawaa are simply becoming ungovernable. Land grab is raging in and around Finfinnee. The realm of land management in and around Finfinnee is increasingly becoming a legal black hole. Land brokers (ደላላዎች) are far more knowledgeable and in control of the land than the mayors and/or local administrators.)
Also, when is he going to delve into the work of giving the economy a kick start after a long season of stagnation? (There are indications that the much publicized UAE deals fell apart perhaps because of the diplomatic blunder he made by jumping too fast, and unguarded, into the complex middle east groupings/cleavages.)
The signs are that every day, he is losing control over this or that part of the state, or that he is still in the intense power struggle with numerous power seekers from all corners.
Will he start to get focused on governing the country?
Will he finally get down to the task of steering and managing the transition that he so passionately advocated in his speeches?
Will he be able to shore up the support he needs to do this?
How would the other political parties get to support him? Is he open to their support, if they so offer?
How could the public support him beyond applauding his speeches? (The public should also ask itself about the best way to support him in concrete terms.)
This is not a criticism. Nor is it an attempt to underestimate his efforts or to question his motives. This is just a concern.