Addis Ababa (Comment) — In 1973 famine struck Ethiopia. The aging Emperor Haile Sellasie was indifferent to the plight of famine victims. A feudal system and imperial insouciance resulted in a Marxist revolution.
In 1984 the Derg regime’s policies caused famine in Northern Ethiopia. In 2022 Abiy Ahmed’s government is using the same strategy to impose famine on Tigray. He said that the Derg had made a mistake by allowing aid into Tigray, which he views as a decision that enabled TPLF to successfully overthrow the Marxist regime.
The Nobel Peace Prize Winner resorted to policies that demonise, impoverish and victimise Tigrayans. Abiy Ahmed used Eritrean forces to wage an unjust war against his compatriots. What does this policy of using famine to subjugate citizens say about the Ethiopian polity? Ethiopia prides itself on being a country that has never been colonised, but it stands out as a country that uses famine as a weapon against citizens.
Medicines are running out in Tigray hospitals; there is an acute food shortage affecting lives of more than five million people. The civil war destroyed livelihoods of Tigrayans who are also singled out for persecution in other parts of Ethiopia. Sooner or later Abiy Ahmed will be tried for crimes against humanity. The chargesheet is growing bigger. Hiding behind the facade of sovereignty in a country whose citizens are victims of an army and assorted ethnic militias such as Amhara Fano extremists will no longer shield Abiy and his associates.
Just as the former USSR was aiding and abetting the Derg regime, Abiy banks on Russia to diplomatically protect it against being denounced for using policies reminiscent of Derg’s famine-inducing military operations. It does not bode well for Ethiopia.
A. M. Tesfaye