Ethiopia: Time to pull back from the brink
Events in Ethiopia at the moment are indeed most worrisome. Maximum restraint is needed. It is time to pull back from the brink.
While the current crisis is traceable to what the authorities at Addis Ababa say was an unprovoked attack on Federal troops by regional Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF fighters, some observers see its roots as going much farther to the circumstances surrounding the emergence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and perhaps even farther back to earlier acts of resistance by the people of the Tigray region within the broader Ethiopian federation.
Since the end of the earlier TPLF-dominated government two years ago, which came in the wake of the resignation of President Hallemariam Desalegn and the consequent emergence of Abiy Ahmed from the Oromo Peoples Front, OPF bloc as the new leader and the OPF as the dominant party and region in the federal administration, there has been considerable unease between the leaders of the TPLF and the rest of the federal administration that is currently led by Ahmed.
It will be recalled that the earlier revolution that had resulted in the collapse of the Mengistu Haile Mariam dictatorship and brought in the TPLF leader, Meles Zenawi as Prime Minister within a new TPLF-dominated federal order, had been one that involved fighters from across Ethiopia. The end of the revolution had led to the separation of Ethiopia and Eritrea and though Zenawi held the country together by sheer force of strength, the omens were there that Ethiopia’s enduring peace process and nation-building efforts required much firmer constitutional adjustments to be more sustainable and guaranteed.
Rather than push the war game at this point then, our counsel for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the federal authorities in Ethiopia is simple: pull back the troops, return to the discussion table and work out the outlines of a new constitution that would deepen the real federal content of the current Ethiopian constitution or substitute same for a confederal alternative.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia