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,

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.

Tsegaye Ararssa

1 Comment

  1. Excellent questions, Dr Ararssa!

    I agree that you are not criticising PM Dr Abiye Ahmed. I think that you have just attempted to articulate the questions bothering some of us. Even if some corners may think you are being critical, let it be, as positive criticism is what Dr Abiye needs right now rather than calculated fake praise, in order not to give into manipulation and maneuvers.

    It is true that Dr Abiye has been trying to make significant reforms to genuinely address the country’s centuries old problems in general and the mess created by TPLF and cronies over the last three decades in particular. Nevertheless, it is absolutely timely and essential to be concerned whether Dr Abiye has really started to govern the country or whether he has been tangled by the chaotic Ethiopian political landscape and resorted to adopting celebrity style campaign. It is normal for stakeholders in that country to expect to get solutions to the fundamental questions they raised and paid for by their children’s lives.

    The first time I heard about Dr Abiye was when the so called ‘team Lemma’ started to attract Ethiopia observers and got headline news coverage. Since then I have at least tried to follow some covarages about him. It seems that he has good intentions for the country and possibly kind heart (trying to empower women, seeing himself as part of the ordinary crowd when being in public arena, etc.) and attempting to tackle some issues, at least departing from the repressive way Ethiopians are used to. Nonetheless, one may wonder if he is trying to appease the usual beneficiaries at the expense of those who have struggled for greater freedoms. Particularly, he seems to project ‘glorious Ethiopian’ past where the majority in that country were subjected to untold subjugation rather than addressing the issues head on. It is pivotal that the Ethiopian people forgive each other and focus on building a country which is genuine mother land to all its citizens. However, sampling the political plots and propagandas circulating in media, there is zero motivation on the part of the group who ruled the country through inflicting maximum suffering and causing unimaginable destructions to their subjects. Have the oppressors repented yet?

    One can only hope that Dr Abiye’s innocent like approach will yield fruits and that country will leave its ugly past behind and put on the right path. Yet, he has to start to govern utilising all his constitutional rights and mandates.

    Wishing Dr Abiye the best of success in his endeavours, thank you Dr Tsegaye Ararssa for raising important and timely questions.

    Kind regards

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