Time for Ethiopian leadership to stop living in a fantasy

The wrongful association of self centered Amharic expansionism combined with fantastical expectations of greatness by subjugation has cost Ethiopia many precious lives and opportunities for development. People confuse fantasy comic characters with reality.

The leadership of Ethiopia continues to function in imagined fantasy of grandeur while its people descend into misery. The current status of Ethiopia compared with just three years ago finds the once growing nation now with three times more debt ($66 billion), a currency which as devalued 50%, millions displaced, waning investor interest, and growing civil unrest. While Abiy Ahmed has instilled a fantastical misdirected sense of destiny similar to comic heroes  unfortunately the saddest thing is that Abiy Ahmed’s disregard for the welfare of his country is now shared by the UN security Council who have tired of thinking about Ethiopia. No doubt they see it as just another expected African tragedy.

This week Tigray as a sign of good faith released over 4,200 Ethiopian National Defense Force prisoners most of which were captured outside Tigray and have not committed atrocities. Many of them were disabled and the group included many pregnant women. Instead of positive response Ethiopian officials denigrated this act. Tigray continues to receive only a trickle of much needed food, medical supplies, and other necessities causing continuing death and suffering. In violation of the Ethiopian constitution Western Tigray remains occupied and with horrors concealed. 

Today most of the population in the capital city of Addis Ababa waits for upwards of several hours to buy diesel or gasoline fuel at three times the normal price. Food, diapers, cooking oil, clothes, housing rents, and other normal items of normal life have doubled in one year. Police and security officials are everywhere looking not just for Tigray or Oromo dissenters but now concentrating on the growing Amhara dissent against Abiy Ahmed.

Abiy Ahmed and his ministers ridiculously claim that they will become wheat exporters because of a limited irrigation project. Meanwhile based upon satellite analysis of crops of Ethiopia and other data Ethiopia is expected to import upwards of 25% of food requirements this year. Wheat which is normally imported from Ukraine is no longer an option because of a war by Russia which the Ethiopian government officially supports so wheat imports will cost even more. 

Recent photos from Djibouti show imports of Russian model tanks designed in the late 1950s which Abiy Ahmed purchased at $1 million a piece buying as many as 200 so that he spent $200 million for tanks that reasonably should cost less then $200,000. These tanks have limited ability to be used off road and become easily stuck in muddy conditions making them useless and easily ambushed by the Tigray Defense Forces and the Oromo Liberation Arm. They are useful for military parades however.

The idea that Ethiopia’s action where widely supported as anti-colonial acts by Africans does not hold water.  A few days ago sixteen recognized African civil service organizations wrote a public letter to the UN Security Council asking for their intervention into the conflict in Ethiopia. Citing the lack of timely and effective action in Rwanda twenty eight years ago which resulted in a genocide they are pleading for a different outcome in Ethiopia. Their letter was focused on Tigray without mentioning the current instability in other regions including Amhara, Oromo,  and Benishangul-Gumuz.   They proposed an arms band on all parties, unfettered transport of needed food, medical, and other supplies to Tigray, and serious mediation for peace and stability.


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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