Jawar Mohammed predicted Abiy Ahmed would bring civil war and state collapse

Jawar Mohammed predicted in October 2020 that Abiy Ahmed would build a personal authoritarian rule that polarized Ethiopian society leading to civil war that collapsed the state.

Jawar Mohammed accompanies new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his USA tour in July 2018(photo from Ethiopian MFA twitter)

In late October 2020 Jawar Mohammed an Abiy Ahmed ally who was key to Ahmed coming to power wrote a prophetic prediction of a disaster the leadership of Abiy Ahmed could bring to Ethiopia. His work was published in the Addis Standard, the leading newspaper of Addis Ababa on October 28, 2020 but had been written some time before. Jawar Mohammed was in prison awaiting trial for terrorism and remains there still. A review of his predictions is chillingly accurate to the chaos and loss of life that has come to pass. Note that the members of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front expressed similar views having known Ahmed well during his time in the security services.

From 2014 through 2016 growing protests occurred in the Oromo Regional State of Ethiopia which constitutes in excess of 30% of the total 110 million Ethiopians. An Oromian, Jawar Mohammed  ran a media company based in the United States emerged as a leader of the new movement. He lead a nonviolent but very massive uprising called the Qeerroo (young unemployed unmarried men) movement which spread to all of Oromia, Addis Ababa, and inspired similar actions in other regions.

As they gained momentum the leaders including Jawar Mohammed felt they had three options in changing from an authoritarian state under the coalition organized by the late TPLF leader Meles Zenawi. They felt an overt overthrow was too dangerous and a prolonged negotiated transplacement was too complicated and lengthy. Instead they decided a transformation through a transitional leader was the best way to join moderates throughout Ethiopia together.

Working with Lemma Megersa, the leader of the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization, a “soft coup” was done. In the course of this process Lemma suggested that his protégé , Abiy Ahmed be the new leader. However, Jawar Mohammed had his doubts because of Ahmed’s inexperience with politics and administration. He felt Abiy Ahmed demonstrated a simplistic view and extreme personal ambition which was concerning..

Despite his concerns Jawar Mohammed became an ally of Abiy Ahmed who initially welcomed the return of Oromia opposition groups with open arms. He felt could play three roles to Ahmed including advisor, providing constructive criticism, and working for stability. However soon a downward spiral began. As soon as he assumed power, Ahmed began to remove other reformers who had helped him. Suddenly they became terrorists. Jawar Mohammed sees the disunity of the reform movement as being complicit in allowing Abiy Ahmed to rapidly change from reformer to autocrat.

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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