The Meteoric Rise and Dramatic Fall of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
By Henok Y. Tessema
November 4, 019

In the first few months of his premiership, Abiy had earned popularity and respect not just as a political leader but also as a moral one. His message of reconciliation, love, and unity had given him unprecedented moral authority in the eyes of a general public expecting the absolute worst.

Fast-forward to today, he has little, if any, moral legitimacy as a political leader. Forget the moral leadership.

Latest case in point:

1. He showed an alarming insensitivity when he stayed deafeningly quiet for about a week in the midst of genocidal violence.
2. He then essentially blamed innocent victims by referring to the institutionally-backed, identity-based massacre as “conflict”.
3. Worse, he condoned such a horrible crime. In his televised statement, he never bothered to say anything noteworthy about the real cause of the crime, which obviously is public knowledge.
4. Even worse, he tried to cover up the crime by presenting a highly offensive, dog-whistle “data”, with no context at all, in a deliberate attempt to construct a counter-narrative against any possible independent investigation in the future. Even if the “data” was credible, as a former member of a peacekeeping force in Rwanda, he should have learned how perpetrators of mass atrocity think about the identity of their victims.
5. Still worse, he tried to (indirectly) exonerate the instigator of the crime, the actual murderers, and their accomplices by keeping quiet about the identity of the criminals and their motives. Indeed, he and Lemma were publicly hailing Jawar just a few days before.
6. What’s more, Abiy’s irresponsible “data” could very well encourage and trigger yet another mass murder against local minorities.

Contrast:

Abiy and his government completely shut down internet connection and overwhelmed the media with laughably dumb “coup” narrative only hours after the killing of officials in Bahir Dar.

The killing of regional officials in a regional capital becomes a “coup attempt”, no questions asked. But a clearly genocidal violence against minorities in Oromia region gets reduced to mere “conflict”.

Many have rightly noted that Abiy is weak and incompetent as a leader. The recent tragedy has provided the most vivid evidence yet regarding another one of Abiy’s important character traits: for all his absurd mantra about tolerance or whatever, he is a genuinely dangerous and ruthless powermonger.

 

 


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