Anarchy looming under Ethiopian skies (Kibour Sealam)

Anarchy looming under Ethiopian skies 


Kibour Sealam


Today, there is a deadly fight in many parts of Ethiopia among supporters of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed, and that of Ja-war Mohammed’s, the latter’s boots on the ground, Qerro, is out in the streets of major towns including Addis Ababa to “defend” their godfather.

The Qerro who represents the unemployed youth in most parts of Oromia region is blocking roads, burning shops and threatening residents in Addis and other areas. Unusually, in some parts of the Addis, supporters of Abiy Ahmed tested the qerro, chasing the group away from some neighborhoods.

The violence surfaced following PM Abiy’s address to the FDRE parliament yesterday, PM Abiy warned scenic activists who owned media for propagating hate speech and inciting violence across the country. It is reportedly said that citizens of foreign nations owned media in Ethiopia, bringing more harm to the people than good. These media people including Ja-war are supposedly investing in the Ethiopian media landscape without settling taxes to the governments that grant them citizenship as well, besides pushing the millions of unemployed youth in Ormoia to violence.

In his post on Facebook, Ja-war announced a heavy military presence around his residence at midnight on Tuesday. And he said his security guys were pressured to leave him secretly and he later confirmed this same issue from head of the VIP security head on phone. Earlier this morning, the qerro as usual blocked roads and kept on destroying properties and killing and the like.

But the Federal Police Commission Commissioner Endeshaw Tassew dismissed Ja-war’s claim of ‘replacement of his security details’ in a televised statement earlier today. “Either of the government and policy hasn’t taken any measure on activists Ja-war.”

Whatever the case might be, the so-called activist should not resort to mobilizing the youths to his protection, the city’s residents day to day activities and that of the diplomatic community should not be obstructed. His response to the so called replacement of security guys could be negotiated. But now what has been observed is blocking roads, intimidating residents, attacking people, destroying property and the like. This is a cowardly act.

The PM’s stances can bring discomfort to some individuals and groups. In such cases, the battleground is at an obvious location—around the table. The brutal ways of Ja-war have repercussions. Unemployment is rampant across the country, whether it is in Addis or Amhara region or Beneshangul…if the thing goes an eye for an eye, as supporters of Abiy did today, it is just the easiest.

The result is obvious, collateral destruction. 

 For this reason, the activist has to condemn youths who rally based on wrong information. It is time for him to use only peaceful ways to defend his interests and the interests he might represent.

But there is another important question here. As far as my knowledge is concerned, there is only one government in Ethiopia. This government is led by the PM. When roads are closed, shops burned, people attacked and killed, the government’s response is still soft. Why is that?  The Federal police and other organs of the security force should act according to the law. The softness on hard issues is a stark breach of laws.

Ultra ethno-nationalists who are thirsty for blood have been sharing images of qerro holding big canes, burning tires on major roads and so on.  One can browse the Facebook account of a person called by the name Tsegaye Ararssa to have a clear understanding of my assertion. These guys are working 24/7 to see bloodshed in Ethiopia.  I can’t understand why they are blind to find a middle ground, and for civic engagement.

The guys might be citizens of foreign nations. They and their families might be in safe havens overseas. But, it is inhumane to treat these innocent kids who are wasting their time, carrying sticks, blocking roads, and attacking their people, as instruments to the activists’ bad wills.

The reformist guys who claimed to break the egg from within have historic responsibility of protecting the people and country. It is now up to the federal government to choose between the good and the bad.

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