Life Inside Today’s Ethiopia – InsideSources


In the past year and a half, we Ethiopians have lived with a knot in our stomachs, walking around our daily lives waiting for the next devastating news. That feeling applies to most Ethiopians, from your taxi driver in Washington, D.C. to your taxi driver in Dubai. However, for a very brief moment in our blood-stained existence, we thought we had turned a corner. That the time had come for Ethiopia to embrace true democracy with a decent leader, to bring our country to the 21st century. Alas, we now find ourselves with a short-lived dream.

This piece is not meant to critique Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. There is enough of that going around. It is not to embrace him, either; there is still much investigation that needs to be conducted to what happened in Tigray. This piece is in response to the recent alliance created by the most violent groups Ethiopia has ever known – The United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederacies Forces (UFEFCF). Think of the creation of the Confederacy in the South. Just with the Confederate States of America (CSA), the main founders of this UFEFCF are groups congregated to disrupt progress: Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) a party that dominated Ethiopian politics for the past three decades along with the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) the armed wing of the infamous Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). In the past, the OLF was identified as a terrorist group by the TPLF majority ruling party Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPDRF). It was also labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. government. Thus, many ethnic Oromos whom have sought asylum in the American justice system were denied U.S. government protection. Multiple human rights agencies also have documented heinous acts of TPLF against activists, journalists and peaceful citizens.

In 2018 Abiy Ahmed was elected prime minister by the parliament of Ethiopia- which was on its own a massive struggle for power between the biggest competing political parties in the country. The one thing we hope anyone agrees on is that it was the first peaceful transition of power in current Ethiopian history.

Then how did we get here? How does a county that just experienced a decent transition of power crumbles and comes to a brink of genocide? This recent crisis in Ethiopia can be compared to the events that captivated U.S. politics in the last year, particularly the insurrection of January 6, 2020. To compare, let’s look at the 2020 U.S. elections, a neck-to-neck race between incumbent president Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race results took days to be announced. Even after the results declared Joe Biden the winner, Trump and his supporters did everything to undermine the election’s integrity and systems to challenge the results. That is identical to what happened in Ethiopia prior to the war.

The 2020 Ethiopian election was scheduled to construct a new parliament and vote a prime minister into government. However, the transitional Government of Ethiopia (GOE) decided to postpone the elections due to COVID. That decision was not accepted by few political parties including TPLF. Instead of following the national election board of Ethiopia which is an autonomous entity that regulates elections, the TPLF decided to conduct their own elections in 2020 and declare themselves winners of the Tigray region. In the meantime, the GOE requested TPLF relinquish its false wins in the Tigray region and wait for the next scheduled national election. Despite the request for conversations, TPLF never showed up for negotiations. In November 2020, TPLF attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Forces in Tigray officially triggering “Tigray War”.

As we are writing this, the newly formed UFEFCF, which primarily is TPLF, is allegedly advancing to occupy the capital Addis Ababa. This so-called alliance is fighting to dismantle the current government voted democratically by the people.

Again, I ask, where were you when the U.S. Capitol insurrection happened and how did that make you feel about your democracy? The U.S., where peaceful transition of power is a guarantee, for the first time faced what looks like unwanted forces descending upon that cherished institution. Then, think of Ethiopia, a democracy at its infancy, and is being threatened by those that have been wielding the gun for decades, threatening an infant democracy that many of us have been fighting for all our lives. Can you imagine the frustration? Can you imagine the outrage? But most of all, can you imagine the heartbreak?

 

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Publish date : 2021-11-17 23:57:12

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