Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is in the cross-hairs of some powerful tribalist forces who have forged an unholy alliance against him and his reform agenda. Until now he has been able to outsmart TPLF and its former-enemies-turned-allies, Oromo radical tribalists who are led by Oromo Media Network (OMN) owner Jawar Mohammed.
Abiy has used the appeasement tactic to buy time while he tried to consolidate his power. But Oromo tribal extremists also used the time to infiltrate his party, Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), and the government itself, and forge an alliance with tribalist forces, such as the TPLF and Sidama Liberation Front.
The Prime Minister now stands at a highly critical crossroads. He has two options:
1) submit to the demands of tribalists forces who are working to balkanize Ethiopia into several mini-states, igniting a bloody civil war involving the entire eastern Africa region, or
2) fight for Ethiopian unity by declaring a state of emergency throughout the country, disband ethnic- and religious-based politics in Ethiopia, as Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and other crises-plagued countries have done to save themselves.
If Abiy chooses option one and submits to the demands of tribal extremists, he will lead Ethiopia into a bloody civil war.
If he chooses to irradicate ethnic-based politics, cancer that is eating away at the fabric of Ethiopia, the people of Ethiopia will stand by him. The Ethiopian military will stand by him. The world will stand by him. He will be remembered as a great Ethiopian hero for generations to come.
Pro-unity Ethiopians are ready to help Abiy Ahmed. But he must start taking concrete steps before it is too late.
The most important and extraordinary steps that need to be taken immediately by Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces are:
1. Declare a state of emergency and impose a military rule for at least one year.
2. Bring under his command all local, regional and federal security forces under his direct command.
3. Ban all ethnic- and religious-based political gatherings.
4. Remove local officials who incite ethnic clashes.
5. Deploy the military in areas that are prone to ethnic clashes.
More than 70 innocent civilians have been massacred by Jawar Mohammed’s followers last week on October 23 and 24. PM Abiy should have cut his Russia trip short and returned to Ethiopia. It was a serious mistake for him not to have done that. He also should have declared a state of emergency as soon as he returned.
It is understandable that Ethiopians are losing confidence in Abiy’s leadership. It is becoming difficult even for his ardent supporters to continue supporting him while he neglects to carry out his most solemn duty, i.e., protecting Ethiopian citizens.