Addis Ababa ( PPM ) – Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel Laureate and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, has had a vision that could put Ethiopia on the path to changing its image as an ancient African country that has never had genuine parliamentary democracy. He expounded his philosophy in Medemer ( roughly translated into English as togetherness) and dissolved EPRDF to merge all existing political parties into the Prosperity Party, a new authoritarian party.

Abiy expressed a penchant for market economy as opposed to the developmental state policies pursued by TPLF. His economic policies have come under fire from Berhanu Nega, the leader of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice, who regards the privatisation agenda of the PP-dominated Ethiopian government as lacking a sound economic rationale.

Abiy Ahmed owes his ascendency mainly to Oromo demonstrators whose opposition to EPRDF policies led to the emergence of Oromara, an alliance of Amhara and Amhara demonstrators against TPLF.

The Oromo Federalist Congress is the main political party challenging the claim of the Prosperity Party that it is a party of Ethiopian peoples. The arrrest of senior OFC leaders in Addis Ababa points to Abiy’s intention to disqualify the party from participating in elections.

Medemer in Oromo language: The philosophy of Propsperity Party is Greek to many Ethiopians

Abiy described the challenges he faces as an urban warfare at which his government excels. The assassination of a popular Oromo singer pushed the Ethiopian government to return to m dictatorship exemplified by the military fatigues Abiy Ahmed wears these days to project an image of a strong leader.

The accusation levelled against  Ethiopian political leaders in detention revives fears that Ethiopia has relapsed into brutal dictatorship on par with the Derg regime, this time with help from the United States. Emperor Haile Sellasie’s reliance upon the United States delayed not only necessary reforms against a feudal system but it also  drove Ethiopia into the arms of Marxist dictatorship.

With Tigray planning to hold local elections in defiance of the Federal Government, Abiy Ahmed is  contemplating the introduction of emergency laws after the Ethiopian  parliament had postponed elections due to Covid-19.

Instead of diminishing the impact of identity politics the Ethiopian government has stoked ethnic hatreds. Ethnicity is a reality in ethiopia. It is up to the political class to work out a way to rule without imposing dictatorship-driven unitarian system or distinct ethnic regions where citizen interactions are non-existent. Where the state is  the tool of the ruler, social harmony decreases particularly in a multi-ethnic nation state.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed still has a chance to choose a path of reconciliation. Lack of a democtratic tradition in Ethiopia is never a reason to don military fatigue and project an image of an all-powerful emperor. Those pretensions ended in utter failure  for past Ethiopian rulers. Medemer has turned out to be a hastily concocted political manifesto for dictatorial regime in Ethiopia.

© Puntland Post Monthly, 2020

Click here to download a full webzine