Dr.Yonas Biru

The war between the Oromo-PP led government and Fano is in a stalemate. Neither has any prospect of winning in the current political and military power dynamics.

Only a high-octane idiot would think the government can win. It takes an even higher-grade idiot to imagine Fano will take over Addis Ababa.

War is fought on many fronts. Winners are those who have figured out that they need to have the upper hand in political strategy, with clear short-, medium-, and long-term narratives. They also understand the advantages of shaping the social psychology of war and mastering the art diplomacy. This requires understanding that a robust public relations ecosystem is as important as one’s military strength at the war theater.

Fano’s movement has been undermined by a bunch of idiots who believe neither a political manifesto nor a broad coalition is necessary before Fano takes over Addis Ababa. At the same time the government is run by a reckless Boy King using the title of Prime Minister as misnomer.

The Prime Minister’s narcissism and psychopathy trample over his political strategy every day and twice on Sundays. His pathological lies are the basis of his social psychology and the grammar of his diplomacy. According to Sigmund Freud, narcissists are emotionally isolated and often lack human sympathy. They do not listen to others. They are extremely distrustful, and their perceived threats often trigger a frenzy and rageful reaction.

Under controlled moral or democratic environment such leaders can be visionary and transformative. Napoleon Bonaparte and Franklin Roosevelt are often regarded as transformative narcissist leaders. 

Napoleon was a man of principle known for his honesty and a sense of gratitude. He was admired for his strategic mind that is often compared to a chess grandmaster. His success is also attributed to his ability to surround himself with people based on their experience, merit, and courage under pressure. Roosevelt’s narcissist personality was constrained by democratic institutions.

On the other end of the spectrum, Hitler is often mentioned as the worst narcissist leader. In whose company (Napoleon/Roosevelt or Hitler) Prime Minister Abiy falls is not hard to say. 

His lack of sympathy to human suffering, his paranoiac suspicion of others, his preference to yes-men rather than people of character and merit, his pathological lies, his demand for absolute loyalty and his betrayal of even his most loyal people place him in the company of Hitler. Any organized opposition that fails to take this into consideration will do so at its peril.

In today’s Ethiopia, the most prominent and potentially a game changing opposition is the Fano movement. Sadly, nearly a year has passed without any organized effort to address its structural fault lines, namely establishing unity in purpose across various factions within the Fano enterprise. This is reflected in the movement’s handicap in political strategy, social psychology, and diplomacy.

As I have noted in several of my articles in the past, Fano is faced with a formidable tension between two end-goals. First is defending the Amhara from an existential threat of a psychopathic Prime Minister and the Gadaa inspired primitive Oromummaa ideology, while being careful not to allow its uprising turn into a civil war. Second is its principled position that a potential civil war should not mean allowing the Prime Minister’s and Oromummaa’s brewing genocidal agenda against the people of Amhara to continue. 

The question that is imposing itself on Fano is: How to delicately balance this tension between the two end goals? The need to avoid a civil war requires it, and the nation’s political transformation depends on it.

This is supposed to be the domain of the Amhara intellectual class both at home and abroad. Sadly, the Amhara intellectual class is a prisoner of an archaic culture that is stuck in the social psychology and political dialect of centuries past. 

This is the truth. Any diagnosis that is not fully truthful may be a nice gesture in terms of not hurting the sensibilities of the hermitized intellectual culture. But it is disastrous and harmful. We need to understand that the hermitized intellectual class sees any effort to accommodate is as accepting and endorsing its mindset. We need to be candid and push back not appease such a group. Lest the heroic sacrifice of young Fanos will be in vain.

Young Fanos are giving everything they have, including their lives and libs. The least the intellectual class can do is to show some decorum of integrity and honesty. Shaleka Dawit’s recent interview with Messay provides a telling example of lack of integrity and honesty.     

For nearly a year the Shaleka was pushing his doomed agenda with Eskinder. For a year, he refused to avail himself for an interview outside of the Ethio-360 clowns. He now tells us had the Amhara people followed his strategy, Fano would have taken over Addis Ababa. This is utter crap, and he knows it.

The truth is that the Amhara Popular Front he created fell flat under the weight of its own fallacies. He now blames others who “were jealous” of his group’s success. 

Messay tried to tell him that his current narrative contradicts with what others on the ground say. But he fell short of pushing back in the interest of creating unity, I suppose. Rather than laundering the Shaleka and hanging him out to dry, he tried to cleanse and recycle him for a reuse. Any effort to recycle failed leaders without accountability is a recipe for repeating the past.

No one has a crystal ball to see the future. What the Amhara intellectual class owes the young Fano fighters is a candid dialogue to develop a strategic political consensus, architect a concurrent roadmap, closely monitor the progress and status of the movement, and take corrective actions that are reflective of the evolving political dynamic. 

In the absence of such a seasoned political culture and an intellectual class of opinion leader, the fate of the nation will be determined by accident and force rather than by reflection and choice based on a strategic political consensus.

If the story that there was an attempt in Addis Ababa to kill Amhara leaders it true, it is a very dangerous development. The story from sources in Addis is that the two targets were Belete Molla and Gashaw Mersha, both in the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA - አብን).

If true, this epitomizes a repeat of two past disastrous actions. First is the EPRP’s disastrous የከተማ ትጥቅ ትግል (citywide armed struggle) in the 1970s that triggered the red-terror and white terror disaster. Second is General Asaminew Tsegie’s adventures action that set the Amhara movement backward. Asaminew Tsegie’s problem was not his focus on arming the Amhara. It was pulling the trigger too early, pulling it on the wrong people, and using force as a choice of first resort.

The Fano who killed themselves or who were killed by the police (depending on which competing narratives circulating one believes) in Addis Ababa were young chaps. Such courageous young fighters are need. But their courage and readiness to sacrifice themselves for the higher cause of their people need to be guided by strategic priorities and goals. Their sacrifice should advance the Amhara agenda to the next level, not expose it to the risk of igniting a civil war in Addis Ababa.

Further, the death of these young chaps in Addis Ababa must raise a critical question. Should the Amhara alone pay the price to free Ethiopia from the psychopathic leader and the primitive Oromummaa political agenda? Anyone who says we will create a broad coalition after Fano’s victory is trying to ride on the back of such young fighters to create an Amhara hegemony.

There is no reason why Fano alone needs to pay the price of freedom. Every group that is victimized by the current government and the savagery of the Oromummaa political culture needs to be a part of the effort and pay the price of freedom.

This requires building a broad coalition. But this cannot happen before a unity of purpose is achieved. This, in turn, depends on an open dialogue to develop a common political agenda, a concomitant roadmap, and a clear and agreed upon end game. Those who do not understand this have no purpose to be in politics in the 21st century. Someone needs to remind them that their century has long gone.

Source: Yonas Biru (PhD)

Is Abiy Ahmed the Most Dangerous Man in Africa?

Deliberate Destruction of Museum, Hospitals, Schools, and Hotels. (2)

Ethiopia: Rulers, Reputations, Reality and the Promise of Fano. (2)