I would say the Ethiopian Premier is a very enigmatic leader.
I should say, his problem emanates with his own base. This person is an Oromo.
He represents an Oromo party. For one reason or another person happens to be a Premier.
Look, when this person ascended to the throne, really, nowhere in Ethiopia a
rallying support took place but in the Amhara region. Here comes the question
and this is where his weakness is conspicuous. Why? Is it because he is a
militant tribal? Not necessarily. But obviously, he is surrounded by militant
tribal activists from his own tribe. Whatever the cause may be, the fact that
he failed to capitalize the popularity he earned divulges that he is indeed,
inept to lead.
The very day he took the premiership he made a lot of
promises which left many Ethiopian nationalists in ecstasy. That in return
emboldened him to come to all the way to America. His coming to America and
speaking to the diaspora community promising a bright future to the country sow
a promising future to Ethiopians, especially, to the young. Really, really, the
whole world was surprised with that. In Ethiopia, as some scholars liked to
call it, it was a mania. I remember if he disappeared for a day or two from the
national media some went to the extent of saying he was hijacked. People
worried about his health. Wearing a tee-shirt with his picture was a pride.
Then what happened is the question.
When blessings, euphoria, praises showered up on him from
other ethnic groups especially from the Amharas; paradoxically, he earned
curses, condemnations, despises from the Oromos, his own ethnicity. Why? I
think that it has something to do with expectations. For the former group all
they sought was freedom, the freedom to speak, the freedom to share the
country’s resource impartially and so on. On the contrary, the latter group
avidly sought to own everything singlehandedly. Especially so-calledOromo
intellectuals who are leading the society devotedly incite the youth torise
against non-Oromos. They began to mislead the youth citing unfounded historical
events. They cite history only in such a way that it may suit their interest. These
unthinking intellectuals instead of inducing the Oromo youth how they may live
with their Ethiopian brothers together they indefatigably sermonize
differences. They went centuries back to tell the youth how the Amharas
subjugated the Oromos. They distort history to justify their inane cause. For
instance, the battle of Adwa which happened in the 19
all Ethiopians in every corner of the country is a big victory. This battle
which was waged under the leadership of Minilik II, brought all Ethiopians
together to push back the Italian colonialists. It is considered to be the
first black victory against European colonialists. But because, it happened
under an Amhara leader the Oromo intellectuals denigrate it saying the Oromos
and other non-Amhara ethnic groups were forcibly conscripted.
Here is the bet for the Prime Minister. Now he seemed to be
sandwiched between these Oromo extremistswho think everything is theirs and
those who asknothing but freedom. His popularity is plummeting thanks to the Oromo
extremists. His administration leniency when it comes to these extremists, make
his fans to question his stand. Some of these extremists act as if they are the
ones leading the country. On a public media, they went to the extent of saying
there are two governments in this country. Because of their incitement, chaos
occurred in different parts of the country especially what is called Oromo
state. What is weird, this administration was quick to detain youngsters who
peacefully demonstrated against the killings of innocent citizens in Buraio
located at the outskirts ofAddis Ababa. This was really a big gaffe as it
bolsters skeptics concern. People believe more when they see than hear. This
Premier rhetorically ignited most Ethiopians making them auspicious when they
think of their futurity. Of course, his emphasis on Ethiopian nationalism,
unity was not palatable to extremist Oromos, because, for them it is sickening
hearing about unity, Ethiopian nationalism.
As soon as he took office, he travelled most parts of the
country making speech. By then, all his speech was nationalistic and it
energized all the people he addressed to. His popularity started falling just
The first fans he lost are from the Tigray region. This may
have happened because of his affection for popularity. He usually sees only one
side. In an attempt to increase his popularity, imprudently he sullied
Tigreans. This helped extremist Tigreans to persuade his Tigrean fans to take off
their support from him. True, TPLF had the upper hand in the former EPRDF.
Though TPLF had the upper hand, the other allied parties including his own were
responsible for everything that happened in Ethiopia in the last 27 years. But,
many Tigrean officials were detained for corruption. They really could have
been criminals. However, the way it happened was somewhat wrong. Even more,
some shows where former prisoners witnessing most of their torturers to be
Tigreans in the national TV were shocking to Tigreans. Besides, he disparaged
all the works in the last 27 years, knowing it may offend TPLF. Moreover, when
he made a speech in the national TV, he used some derogatory terms ambiguously.
Of course, here his detractors from Tigray may have used it shrewdly. For
instance, on Jun 16, when an attempt had been made on his life in a rallying
support at Meskel Square, after it failed he appeared on the national TV and he
said ‘yekenjeb’ (a hyena that moves before dusk) he never said Tigreans but by
then for the obvious reason most people probably think a member of TPLF did it.
On his part, he may be referring to anyone who did it. But that was not how his
detractors understood it or wanted to understand it. They insisted on
correlating it to Tigreans. Actually, others may have also understood it that
way. Not long after that he repeated this same mistake when he appeared on the
national TV and said ’tsigrelewot’ (a strange person). Again, his Tigrean
detractors used it the same way. Above all, his administration reluctance to
take action, when some thugs in the Amhara region blocked trucks that go to
Tigray, it deters Tigreans to put trust in his rule. This way his support from
Tigray is gone.
Then he lost his popularity in the Amhara region for various
reasons. Firstly, it is because of partiality in his administration. He filled
most of his cabinmate from his own ethnic group. Secondly, his biasedness when
it comes to take action to various political activists which I mentioned above.
Actually, this biasedness cost him not only in Amhara region, but in most parts
of the country.
His juxtaposition of spirituality and secularity may have
also contributed for his eroded popularity. Sometimes he looks to be a pastor
rather than a political leader. At the beginning of his rein this may have
lured his supporters but when people hear chaos in the country, they couldn’t
accept it. Indeed, it prompts any sane person to question if he is serious
about his post. It is kidding to appear in a national TV visiting the sick and
the elderly in Addis while thousands of people are displaced, or killed by
gangsters in other parts of the country. He may be a pious person, but it is
preposterous trying to rule a secular society in a form of theocracy.
Should he need to turn around his fortune and stabilize the
country, he needs to be determined. Unequivocally, he has to distance himself
from Oromo extremists. True, this won’t be without any cost; yet, it is up to
him to choose. As mentioned above, he is sandwiched between those who ask
nothing but the continuity of the country and those who are determined to
destroy the country unless they have everything they ask.
Orally, he appears to be a nationalist, but practically that
is not what we are seeing. One fear he may have is losing his popularity from
his own constituency; however, this shouldn’t be that hard if he has the
audacity. When he became the Prime Minister, he had every support throughout
the country. There was a little doubt within his own constituency. He should
ask himself. Why was that? Again, it may have something to do with his
weakness. Instead of restraining so called extremist Oromo activists, he left
them unbridled allowing them to do whatever they wished. By doing this, he
earned nothing except making himself vulnerable. Rhetorically, he speaks about
unity, togetherness, equality. That pleases everybody who seeks nationalism. On
the flip side, the Oromo extremists galvanize the Oromo youth not to stand for
unity but to seek a special privilege. Because of his fear, Oromo extremists
controlled the Oromo youth. Now he lost his popularity from the non-Oromos.
Because of this, he might think his popularity spiraled upwards in the Oromo
constituency, but in all the non-Oromo constituencies it is quiet the opposite.
Even then, it is moot if his Oromo constituency is really in his favor. Because
he is not their leader. They consider their leader to be Oromo extremists.