Growing opposition against Abiy Ahmed predicts likely country collapse

Over the past few months over 4,000 Amhara including members of militia group FANO, Ethiopian Defense Forces, and others have been arrested reports Reuters. Just a few months ago many Amhara cities like Dessie pictured above supported Abiy Ahmed but now that loyalty seems to have evaporated.

The coalition Abiy Ahmed hastily constructed to consolidate power in Ethiopia seems to be collapsing at a rapid rate. In a not unexpected paradox diaspora supporters of Abiy Ahmed’s military actions and civil rights violations against Tigray and Oromo peoples actions against are now complaining that such actions are illegal when applied to the Amhara. The Ethiopian American Development Council in an Open Letter to Abiy Ahmed complained

We are compelled to write this letter in light of the recent developments in Ethiopia where, based on published reports, over 4,000 citizens, journalists, and patriots in the Amhara region alone, are being kidnapped and detained by the Ethiopian security forces…..
Even more perplexing is the government’s use of unconstitutional and illegal tactics of kidnapping and dramatic abductions of citizens, with no regard to the rule of law or the need to maintain public trust. Maintaining public trust and securing peace is the hallmark of a responsible government. The current actions of the Ethiopian government are counterproductive and are effectively making a bad situation even worse.

After his rise to power in 2018 Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed built an alliance of Eritrean supporters of Isaias Afwerki, Amhara expansionists, former Derg supporter diaspora especially in the USA, and former diaspora monarchists by creating a unified front against a strawman represented by ethnic Tigrayans. This targeting was simplified by the strong unity of the Tegaru for their ruling Tigray Peoples Liberation Front which won an election handily just before the Ethiopian Tigray conflict began in November 2020 in defiance of declaration of the TPLF as terrorists and the Tigrayan election as illegal.

Studies of Ethiopian immigration to the United States and Europe showed that the vast majority came between the mid 1970s to the 1990s as former monarchists and then Derg supporters who fled following the Derg’s defeat.  These groups dreamed of a return of a strong political leader to overcome the Zemene Mesafint (referring to a period where Ethiopia had no central leader in the 19th century which lead to the Amharic dominance and expansion of Ethiopia) they saw again prior to Abiy Ahmed.

This coalition supported the brutal invasion of Tigray, confiscation of assets and property, imprisonment without due process, and minimized any violation of human rights against the Tigray saying they were justified. Now that the Abiy Ahmed government has developed concerns that these Amharic expansionist elements are plotting against him possibly in cooperation with Eritrea the tide seems to be turning former allies into threats. Academic studies of despotic regimes in Africa and other regions done by the Rand Corporation, a frequent advisor to the United States intelligence services, has shown that such reversals are not uncommon. The direction of chaos in which Ethiopia seems to be following have a high chance that the current government will not sustain itself base upon historical factors seen in successful insurgencies.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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