By Ali Yare
The current uprising in Ethiopia, especially in the Oromia area is likely the beginning of the end of the Addis Ababa regime. After years of oppression and power abuse, the people of Oromia, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, took to the streets expressing their anger and frustration openly but peacefully. Surprisingly, as anticipated by many of us, the regime’s security apparatus responded with bullets and disproportional force. Contrary to what the media is saying, the massive Oromo protest has not resulted from the Addis Ababa masterplan as TPLF officials in Addis Ababa claimed but it has been generated by many years of marginalization and economic disparity. For the time being, Oromia is nothing but a war zone like Ogadenia. Instead of sitting down with the students and farmers and listen to their concerns, the authority opted to quell the protest militarily because the only language that TPLF led regime understands is the language of bullets.
Undoubtedly, the Ethiopian legal system was engineered poorly by whoever compiled it because it is unfair to the most of so-called Ethiopian people. It only serves for certain groups. Initially it was not drafted through consensus or majority approval, but through force. We know that this country’s legal system was passed by one man, a dictator. Surprisingly, for the successive rulers, no one bothered to make amendment in the legal system in order to be compatible with the contemporary legal system. The Ethiopia for today is comprised of multiple ethnic groups with different languages, regions and cultures. Nevertheless, these ethnic groups did not simply come together to form the Ethiopia nation, but they were forced to be part of Ethiopia one by one. Ogaden, Afar, Oromo, Sidamo, Anoka, Gambela, Beninshugul, and many others have been hostages to the different Ethiopian rulers and they never had the chance to decide their own fate. The majority of these ethic groups never called themselves to be Ethiopian nor have they been happy to be part of it.
In addition to that, there has never been power sharing in that country’s history, but has always been one-man rule, and the power transfer has often been a bloody one most of the time such as during Haile Selassie or Derg era. One tyrant always toppled another one grabbing the power with an iron fist. Truly, these rulers couldn’t afford to rule the country by their own, but they often received external supports. Whoever come to power no matter how cruel he/she has been or how many people got killed in his/her way to the power, they always enjoyed full support of the western countries. The western countries interests seem to be more important to them than the lives of the people of that country. Anytime this dictatorial system is challenged by the Ethiopian people, and the authority come to on the edge of collapse, the Western world had to rush in with military equipment and financial aid immediately. The so-called western donors are absolutely indifferent to the suffering of the Ethiopian people, and as long as their interests are served, they don’t care for the agony of the civilians. It is absurd that Western countries want their citizens to enjoy democracy and rule of law while they are denying these same rights to the Ethiopian society. We know now that some western countries are rushing money and other supports to the Addis Ababa regime not because they want to help the victims of the crackdown by TPLF administration in Oromia, but to save the regime in order to protect their interest.
Had Ethiopian not been receiving an unconditional support from the western countries, certainly, it would not have lasted long. However, whichever country is trying or has been trying to save Ethiopia from being a failed state like Somalia should be very disappointed by the situation on the ground now. Based on the hostility among the different ethnic groups and the widespread opposition to the authority, no doubt Ethiopia has headed to the path of destruction reaching to the point of no return. The chaos is in every corner of the country, more widespread and serious for this time. The situation is too difficult to put under control because vast area of Oromia is inaccessible and there is no law and order.
Financially, we all know that Ethiopia successive regimes have been relying on humanitarian aids and ever since this country came to existence, it never stood to its feet economically. There is well accepted fact that without outside assistance Ethiopia cannot survive a year on its own as a functioning nation. As long as we remember, Ethiopia has never been able to feed its people, and its survivability solely depends on hand-outs from western donors. Its chronic dependency on humanitarian assistances has portrayed it as lazy and an irresponsible country.
Realistically, this assistance will never be available to it forever. In 2050 it is predicted that its population will reach approximately 200 million so, there will definitely be many more mouths to be fed and I doubt if anyone is willing to feed these mouths. No one can guarantee the needs of these people. There is no peace in Ethiopia. There is always war, hunger, starvation, famine and other tragic events and that is the connotation that goes with the Ethiopian name. it has been known for many years that this regime has misused the humanitarian aid, unfortunately the donors turned to blind eyes to that allegation. Mismanagement, occupation, nonstop conflict, inflation, corruption and backwardness are the root cause of the Ethiopian problem and as long as this old, backward mentality exists in this country problem will never go away.
Based on the Ethiopian governmental structure where the rules are rotated by the minorities groups such as Tigrean and Amhara, where majority are marginalized like Oromo, where land such as Ogaden land has been grabbed by force and that country’s citizens are unhappy about the situation, Ethiopian days as a nation is numbered. No way it can survive in this condition where intimidation, mass arrest and killings are daily life events.
The regime is like an outdated building standing on unstable ground and sooner or later this building will collapse completely. If something is not done quickly, the building will collapse on the tenants and kill everybody, however, if controlled demolition is initiated, many lives will be saved. Ethiopia needs controlled demolition or controlled separation into sustainable zones.
Therefore, in my opinion, international communities and particularly Ethiopian friends have two choices; either they can watch it collapse doing nothing, and get ready for the consequences or they can start encouraging a controlled division of that nation into manageable zones. The latter is achievable and realistic because the old system of holding people together by force can no longer work in this century. Ethiopian regime should be forced by international communities to hold referendum and whoever chooses to remain in Ethiopia should do so, but whoever chooses to leave Ethiopia should be allowed to do so too. I am sure the majority of the people will prefer to secede from this country because most of the people are not proud to be called Ethiopian.
Disintegration into ethic lines or into small regions is an inevitable and I believe that is what is happening now in that country. Ogadenian is determined to break away from Ethiopia by any means necessary and so do many ethnic groups. Amhara took the arms to remove the Woyane soldiers from their region. Now the fighting is going on in Gondar area. Gambella has been put under military rule. The fighting around the Gambella capital city has intensified for the last couple of weeks. The people of the northern Ethiopia are also protesting against the Woyane regime. Wherever you go in Ethiopia there is bloodshed.
If the authority collapses in this situation, internal fighting will follow, then all-out war among different factions will take place. Then, most likely Rwanda like massacre will take place because the animosity among the people which is created by Woyane regime is numerous. The different groups in Ethiopia are made hostile to one another and the chance of seeing them living side by side is very low. If they cannot live together in peace, isn’t it good idea for them to go apart? I believe they should.