Ethiopia: The Dangers Ahead By Yared Ayicheh

July 26th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia’s foreseeable future is slowly, but surely, getting into a dangerous and volatile state. The economic situation has gotten worst and it has made the daily life of Ethiopians unbearable. It is this unbearable factor that may push the submissive and tolerant Ethiopians, collectively, into an angry and aggressive state of mind.

If and when this state of mind does take hold of the masses, the outcome will be an uprising not ever seen in Ethiopia’s history. The revolution of the mid 1970s will not even compare to the fierceness and destructiveness of the approaching upheaval.

What are some of the possible dangers facing Ethiopians in the foreseeable future? Here are some of the dangers that I feel Ethiopians may face soon:

Danger #1 Leaderless Uprising

Although it is tempting for some in Diaspora to think they can ‘manage’ an impending uprising in Ethiopia, it is simply an impossible task to do so from abroad. The total control of the media in Ethiopia by the ruling party and the repression of the civilian population by government security personnel have made it difficult for a covert operation to be successful so far; however, these conditions in combination with the economic failures have created an unprecedented pressure on the population which is only waiting for a trigger to burst out. As a result of this, the upheaval will be leaderless, decentralized and untamed.

Danger #2 Opportunity to ‘Vent’

In the past 20 years, at various times and places, the ruling party has harassed, imprisoned, tortured and killed civilians, and that repressed hurt may be vented out at the right opportunity – an uprising is the best opportunity to release repressed anger. The recent Arab uprisings have shown that when people feel ‘free’ they attack those that kept the lid on them. That kind of venting will not be lead by a group or a committee; instead it will be impulsive, which is conducive for vigilante justice and ethnic violence due to perceived ethnic political power disparities.

Danger #3 Divided Military

Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, ENDF, know first hand the harsh condition of daily life Ethiopians are facing each day. It is simply foolishness to think the military will remain intact when a significant segment of the population starts to uprise due to the unbearable living conditions. Once an uprising is triggered, whatever is keeping the military ‘loyal’ to the ruling party will not pass the test of loyalty to the people vs. loyalty to the 20 years old regime. A worst scenario would be a military division along ethnic lines – that kind of division in the ENDF could possibly have an ominous consequence for the nation.

Danger #4 Opportunist ‘Vultures’

Post-uprising Ethiopia, with a weak, damaged, undermined or failed central government, would be vulnerable to elements that are waiting for such opportunity. Armed groups will specially find a power vacuum in Ethiopia highly attractive and may take advantage of it. If this happens, Ethiopia’s political power structure may morph and look more like the era prior to Emperor Theodros II – a fragmented Ethiopia without central government. Perhaps post-uprising Ethiopia would create a situation similar to Somalia were parts of Ethiopia will be administrated by warlords. A Somalia type of situation is what the international community will likely want to avoid in Ethiopia, but after what happened to the US soldiers in Mogadishu in 1993, will donor nations come to the rescue in Ethiopia?

Danger #5 Civil War

Another danger is a protracted civil war. It is nothing new for Ethiopians to fight with each other; nevertheless, what may be a new element of a new civil war in Ethiopia is the factor of the new generation of Ethiopians who grew up under the current ethnocentric political atmosphere. The new generation may have a deeper sense of ethnic identity, compared with older generations who strongly identify themselves as an Ethiopian nationalist instead of over emphasizing their ethnic identity. This new ethnic dimension could make a new civil war in Ethiopia to be easily defined as ethnic conflict, which would be unlike any major civil war in Ethiopia’s history.

Good News

These are just possibilities, but I feel they are more likely to happen given the recent turn of events in Ethiopia’s elections and economic failures, and the unprecedented uprisings in North Africa and Middle East. The uprisings have opened up a new horizon of possibilities for oppressed people all over the world to bring change in their nations.

The good news is Ethiopia does not have to go through an uprising. There is still time to avoid an uprising and step into a better future for our children, grand children and all future generations.

Comprehensive Reform

The EPRDF leadership needs to open up itself for a nationwide, all inclusive political reform, which must include all opposition parties from inside and outside Ethiopia.

Such comprehensive reform can and will save Ethiopia from a possibly looming, unprecedented and dangerous future. Its time we as a society learn from history, ours and other countries’, and embark on an era of sensible politics by overcoming the era of dead end politics.

The time for political compromise is now!

The writer may be reached at yared_to_the_point@yahoo.com

  1. beyu
    | #1

    It is absurd to suggest that somali style clan warfare would emerge in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a long history as a nation dating back to Biblical times. Has been a country known for the tolerance of the people towards each other. Christians live among muslims harmoniously, people are intermarried and many of the present day generation have mixed ethnic background.

    The Ethiopian people know who their real enemy is – It is the ethno-fascist woyane junta who are inciting violence among the people based on ethnic and relegious lines.

    Given the opportunity, we have seen how the people come together , united for change during the 2005 election. We have seen millions marching together , hand in hand both in the diaspora and inside the country against tyranny, oppression and dictatorship.

    The oromo suffers in the same way as the amhara or the guraghie, the sidame or the gambellan, the tigrean or the afar under Zenawi’s dictatorship.

    There is no ethnic group in Ethiopia that has not suffered under the woyane. the woyane divide and rule policy has pitted one group against the other. But we have gone through the worst crisis that the woyane can muster upon the nation. we have seen how foolish it was to be the instrument of the woyane.we have seen how the woyane have been destructive. we have seen the woyane dessimating the country, selling the land, uprooting the population, manufacturing famine deliberately,discriminating people on the bases of their ethnicity for jobs and positions.

    I suspect come the opportunity the people will join hands again and go on marching for freedon, democracy and justice.

  2. ኪሮስ ግርማይ
    | #2

    ለጸሓፊው::
    በሁሉንም አቅጣጫ ማየቲ ትክክል ነው:: በውጭ ሆኖ ማዔበሉን መምራት አይቻልም: የውጭው ህይል ለውስጥ ላለው ትግል አጋዥ እንጂ መሪ መሆን የሚቻል አይመስለኝም::
    በኢትዮጵያ የብሔር ብጥብጥ አይነሳም የሚል የዋህነት ነው:: ለሀግሬ መጥፎ ነግር ባልመኝም ወያኔ ህዝቢን ከፋፍሎታል ሆን ብሎም ህዝቡ እንዲበጣበጥም ከመገፋፋት ወደሓላ አይልም:: የምማጸነው ግን ተቓዋሚው በአንድነት ለአንድነት እንዲሰራና ኢትዮጵያን እንዲታደጋት ነው:: በተለይ አምላክን እማጸናለሁ ሰላም በኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ እንዲያወርድ: ከኔ የሚጠበቀውንም በማድረግ ላይ ነኝ::

    አምላክ ኢትዮጵያን ይጠብቅ

  3. rezene kadissaba
    | #3

    Gash Yared – you are far from the reality. You forgot Eth is a federal state; meaning there are states (regional governments) who are managing their regions right now. If what you are saying happen (I am dead sure it won’t) the regional states will take over. Most of the Arab or Somali governments in trouble are unitary states. There is only one structure; if that fails – all fail. Have you noticed, even Dergue ruled to the end and handed over power after a 17 year full blown civil war. Governments don’t fall that easy – look again Yemen and Libya. The ‘gov is going to fall’ assumption is what is taking the political dialogue backwards in Eth. That is why the oppositions are not doing what it takes: hoping a revolution would do their job. Please refer Prof Messay Kebede’s arguments. Stop selective readings and learn from all sides.

  4. DRAMA
    | #4

    I DISAGREE. THE PLAN OF THE FERENJ WAS OFCOURSE TO DIVIDE OUR NATION ALONG ETHNIC LINES BY HIRING SLAVES THAT DO THE JOB OR USE THE LAW TO CONFUSE THE PEOPLE SO THAT THEY TAKE ADVANTAGE. HOWEVER, AS THE DAY GOES ON THEY REALIZE WHAT IS GOING ON, THAT ON THE GROUND IT IS FAR DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THEY WANT TO ACHIEVE. ALL ETHIOPIANS STILL LOVE ONE ANOTHER REGARDLESS OF THEIR ETHNIC BACKGROUND. SOME UNINFORMED DIASPORAS AND OBVIOUSLY WOYANE CADRES, AND SO CALLED DIASPORA ETHNIC LIBERATION FRONTS ARE THE ONCE THAT THINK THERE IS ETHNIC DIVISION IN ETHIOPIA. IT IS NOT TRUE.

  5. deleted
    | #5

    Yared, I agree with you, and your analysis has strong message. Indeed, these are the possibilities as we right now how things are going and how the weyane regime is handling. More specially the strife among the military of the current regim is really getting intensified. Though weyane doesnt want tor eveal it our, this situation is worisome to Meles Zenawi and other puppets.
    All in all, things are moving in a very dangerous situation. This is true.

    What I get wandered is how blind the ruling regime is? How very blind the regime is?

    Days are numbered to them. It is invevitable that Meles Zenawi and his officials are facing death unless they make a swift change to bring lasting solution to the country.

    We hope our beloved people and country will be saved.

    May God Help us!!!

  6. bika
    | #6

    …..hey blog warrior, we have heared and read plenty of analysis and declarations and ‘fukerawoch’,but….OUI MON GENERAL,A VOUS ORDRE…MAIS…it is very unpractical for you being in the US “MON GENERAL”, trying to command an army in Africa.Why do not you come nearer?Asmara is a bit crowded but it…

  7. Tedi
    | #7

    Hi,I am the way to sound for the Ethiopian people, now adays people of Ethiopia are in avery hard condition,Woyane could n’t lead the country, exept the very trush, dirty police and divide and rule system. The people of Ethiopia should stand hand in hand to get ride this fucken government, which concentrate on ony the small minority group.

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