By Sintayehu Gebremariam
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Ethiopia, as a country that is known for being the first place to host human being and to be one of the few ancient civilizations, it also has a down side in terms of conflict and ethnic tension, since the medieval age, locally known as “Zemene Mesafent”. Like all modes of productions during the emergence of the feudal system, oligarchs here and there were climbing on the ladder of societal hierarchy, to become leaders and governors.
Most of the Ethiopian civilization began from the northern part of the country and most of its history falls on the shoulder of the Tigrian and The Amhara people.
In 1974, the monarch was removed by public anger and mismanagement of the country’s resources, to benefit the royal family and the elites who were working for the crown.
After that a military government took power as there was no organized party at that time, that can lead the country with a defined road. The subjective conditions against the monarch was fulfilled, but there was no any party, ready to lead the country. Then the military had to take the power in a promise to hand it over to a civilian government, in six months.
The Military Junta, known as Derg continued to lead the country, despite the promise of handing power to a civilian and elected government. The country was on a crossroad, whether to follow free market economy (Capitalism) or the Communist ideology, that was dominated by the USSR.
I believe due to the close relationship of emperor Haleselassie to the western worls, the powerful states rejected the military junta and the country was forced to seek help from Soviet Union.
In the absence of fertile ground to host a new ideology, the government declared socialism and the chaos began. The country lost extremely important and educated citizens for internal conflicts between parties and from actions taken by the government.
The guerilla fighters who were fighting to liberate Eritrea created another group in the Tigray Province of the country and began to fight the military government. After seventeen years of misery the country fell into the hand of the EPRDF, a front of guerilla fighters created by the Tigray People Liberation Front.
The TPLF declared democracy and called all stakeholders and different ethnic fronts to the capital and formed a transitional government, which ignited hope in the heart of many Ethiopians. It was new in its kind to see oppositions sitting together to confer about one nation.
That excitement did not stay longer. The TPLF changed into a tyranny or its bad character began to be revealed. The country went back to dictatorship in its worst form. The latent ethnic clash between tribes was fuelled by the TPLF in order to divide and rule the country. People became busy to work on hate against each other and united voice could not be achieved.
The need for democracy and justice increased and in 2016, the Ethiopian people began to fight against the EPRDF. Waves of demonstrations took the roads and villages of the country. The government used force to stop the public anger. Thousands were killed and many jailed.
The EPRDF began to have internal problem. Members and high-ranking officials who were participating in the crime done by the EPRDF formed a faction and they began to secretly work with different domestic and international forces to tumble the TPLF.
Such people who were commissioners and omissioners of crime came out with words of hope and change and convinced the public that the crimes of the past will never be committed again. They tried to fool the public and they were successful in easing the public anger, mainly by releasing political prisoners.
The new force, that believes brought change to the country used such tactic to defuse the collective power of the public and to instill another dictatorial government. Few weeks after the so-called reform, many people lost their homes, properties and their lives. Ethnic conflict was ignited all over the country and the government did not act swiftly to manage or handle such crisis.
At this time there are more than four million internally displaced people in Ethiopia, who are desperately looking for help. A Genocide took place in different places, mainly in the Guji zone of Oromia. The Oromos killed innocent members of the Gedeo tribe. It is a mass killing committed by the Oromos and the government led by an Oromo prime minister did not investigate or correct such an act of genocide.
The army and the security force of the country that was built by the EPRDF in the past twenty-seven years was relatively stronger that many other neighboring countries, which was capable of preventing external intrusions and stabilizing the country. Though Ethiopia is known for its anti democratic practice against citizens, it had strong army and reliable security system, that kept the country safe from intervention of external terrorist groups.
When neighboring Kenya and Somalia were being attacked by terrorist groups in different time, the Ethiopian intelligence assured the safety of the country and it was campaigning cross border to fight and destroy terror elements like Al Shabab.
At this time, Ethiopia is extremely vulnerable, n terms of internal and external security. The country that was trying to liberate the neighboring countries from terrorist hold is now in a very scary situation. Currently, the government of Dr. Abiy is incapable to protect the country from invasion and it is unable to stop the domestic violence that are taking away the lives of innocent citizens, everyday. Only in 2020, which is in less that a month in this new year, students in Oromia are kept hostages by local war lords, created after the arrival of the new prime minister. Girls are being taken hostage and the government is doing nothing to free those innocent citizens.
University students are being killed in campuses, because of their ethnic origin. Most of the universities in the country are being closed, due to security concerns. Highways get blocked by locally organized and armed hooligans. The government that came to power by cheating the public left the country vulnerable to internal and external security threats.
In Ethiopian reconstructing the security and intelligence services has been proved more difficult. As a result, significant insecurity has escalated in many parts of the country, leaving nearly four million internally displaced people. The government faces the challenge of anticipating and mitigating nationalist violence, particularly as the country prepares for elections in the coming six months.
Many Ethiopians both within the EPRDF and the opposition recognize the need for a national discussion on issues relating to the regain of control on the security and tranquility of the country, which is a driving factor for economic change and prosperity. Similarly, the EPRDF is considering changes to the party and has floated the idea that it transforms itself to one party that individuals join directly rather than through membership in regional party associates. These questions, however, are tense with argument, and open debate is unlikely before the next round of elections.
First of all, the politicians and the public were expecting to see a transitional council or some kind of temporary government, to transform the country from where it is to a new kind of governance though a democratic election.
However, the new prime minister changed his mind and decided to continue to lead the country until the next election, which is expected by many trusted organizations including the international crisis group to be one of the bloodiest elections ever.
In the presence of such tension in Ethiopia, it will me a calamity for the country to hold an election in less than six months, in the absence of social consensus.
The tension in Oromia, Amhara, and other regions is manifestly preventing party members to campaign. The lack of safety and security can not allow the candidates to travel from place to place and to address their constituency groups. Many members of the opposition are strongly opposing the election process currently. They are asking the government to postpone he election at least by one year, until fertile and sfe ground is created. However, the new prime minister who wants to secure his position for the coming five years is going ahead with election, which is expected to be full of conflict and crisis.
It is believed that the prime minister is backed up back some Arabic countries and is relying more on the will of those governments, instead of relying on the Ethiopian people. Holding an election at this vulnerable time will totally lead the country in to crisis.
To be continued