The war is the Nobel Peace Prize winner
Aynalem Sebhatu 11-11-20
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister Ethiopia, "for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea." I could only imagine how the members of the Nobel Committee burdens of regret to be crashing down on them right now.
If there is a case to be made for revoking the Nobel Peace Award, no doubt it should be Abiy Ahmed's award. The man who is running the country is in a tailspin and he is inwardly and outwardly a different person the members of the Nobel Committee had known since the 2019 award. Everything about his character seemed altered by his acute desire for power. He alone made the call to go to war against the Oromo people, the Sidama people, the Somali people, the Wolaita people, and lastly now against the Tigrayan people. In short, the war is the Nobel Peace winner and the violence he is. Abiy Ahmed has to be stopped before he drugs the entire fragile region of the Horn of Africa into civil war.
Even though the intention of the Nobel Committee was to encourage the peace process between the two countries, the nominal peace process initiated by Abiy did not bring any tangible result on the ground at all. Yes, the peace initiative brought the Eritrean dictator, President Issayas Afewerki, and Abiy Ahmed much closer in terms of their personal friendship. Cementing their friendship further is that both leaders never have any love lost towards the leaders of Tigray.
Abiy’s coming to power is facilitated by the west and enhanced by the Nobel Prize for peace, which almost by definition means that he would be willing to use any blunt instrument under his reach to beat anyone while the west looks the other way. Ultimately the Nobel Peace Prize award became a cover and a license to secretly plan and execute a new dangerous war against the Tigrayan state.
Given the long track records of the Eritrean dictator, many keen observers of the region have pointed out that the core motivation of their friendship emanates from their deeply seated hate towards the Tigrayan leadership and their intense desire to install Abiy’s puppet government in Tigray. Even though the people of Tigray exercised their democratic rights by electing their leaders on September 9, 2020, both leaders were not happy about the reelection of the TPLF by a landslide. The Tigrayan leadership got an overwhelming mandate and support from the people of Tigray. This result did not sit very well with Abiy Ahmed. He was not willing to accept and respect the will of the people and practice their constitutional rights to self-governance. This momentous day for the people of Tigray bizarrely infuriates Abiy Ahmed into a punitive mood. He was determined to ignore the will of the people by democratically electing their leaders. Therefore, it was a matter of timing when to invade Tigray from all fronts. Issayas and Abiy’s time of choice turns out to be American presidential election day. On Tuesday, November 3rd, the Nobel Peace Prize winner drugged a country of 110 million people into a dangerous civil war.
The most important and consequential political development of the last ten years seems to me to be the ascent of Abiy Ahmed to the highest office of the country. At the beginning, his charm offensive and his flowery rhetoric gained him high popularity and high expectations inside and outside the country. Since his ascent to power as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in April of 2018, there has been no shortage of bad news. The country is facing increasingly insurmountable problems of mass killings, burning of churches, political assassinations, mass imprisonment and killings of different ethnic groups by the government, imprisonment of journalists.
Abiy’s security forces have cracked down the opposition parties and have put all the known leaders of the opposition parties back into prison. The ongoing crisis in different areas of the Oromia region is unnerving. The recent killings of people in Wolaita zone and in Oromia zone were so disgusting the offense could be considered a crime against humanity in general. The dismal human rights records of Abiy Ahmed’s administration are well documented by human rights organizations.
Abiy is somehow insulated from the feeling of human suffering in a way that is not characteristic of a self-professed God-fearing person. In light of the day to day suffering of citizens of the country, his inaction, his deafening silence, and his indifference is not expected from any leader of a country let alone from a Nobel Laureate. In short, Abiy is turning out to be an insensitive tyrant and a political chameleon who has tailored and embellished his resume with significant support of the West. Now people are asking what exactly did the West as well as the Nobel Prize Committee see in him what a significant number of his country’s fellow people have not seen in this Prime Minister? What really is the core value of this man’s belief beyond his childlike need for attention and his singular pursuit of concentration of power?
The ethnically entrenched regional powers, which are the foundation of the current constitution, are designed to serve as a potential counterforce against centralized authoritarianism. Ironically, the very factors that have brought Abiy Ahmed to power and his formation of political alliances with Amhara elites made possible the creation of centralized control from the federal government against self-governance of regional governments. With the weakening of the constitutional rights of nations and nationalities of the country and with erosion of federalism as an operational concept, decision-making on national and regional matters became increasingly the monopoly of one-man seating in Addis Ababa. Indeed, we have recently heard Abiy Ahmed speak about his direct or indirect intervention in the internal affairs of regional governments and his dismantling of self-governance of federal states. This sort of intervention by the Prime Minster undermines the institutional framework of federalism and thereby cheapening the constitution of the country.
Abiy graduated with a Ph.D. in peace and conflict resolution. Paradoxically he is engaged in pursuing his thirst for power by designing subversive plans of pitting one ethnic group with the other. Moreover, with the full recognition of the dangerous potentialities of Abiy’s unchecked powers, it is contended that the Tigray state has provided a far vigorous defense than the House of Federation, and has shown a greater sensitivity to the rights of the federal states. In other words, after Abiy effectively- corrupted the federal arrangements by denying regional states their constitutional right of self- governance, the only state left for him to monopolize his power is Tigray. The current Abiy's war campaigns against Tigray should be understood as an extension of the current struggle over self-determination and self-governance of nations and nationalities of the country. The war of attrition against the federal states of the country is wholly without constitutional justifications.