Barely a week after the ruling coalition’s 11th congress re-elected Abiy Ahmed, with unanimous vote, as chairman which means that he will also remain in his prime ministerial post until the next national election, he experienced incidents yesterday that happen only in a coup d’état like situation.
240 armed Special Forces, who were reportedly deployed to Burayu town in the western outskirts of Addis Ababa to control attack against ethnic Gamo, marched to the palace in the capital Addis Ababa without the knowledge of relevant government bodies. Up on arrival, they reportedly insisted that they want to see Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in person.
The alleged reason, as reported by government media outlets, was that they want to express grievances related to pay, benefits and also what they reportedly described as administrative gaps within the defense force including corruption. That is how government media wanted to project the incident to the public.
Blurry and insensible nature of the story rather caused speculation among Ethiopians as to what really happened. The belief is that the motive was perhaps more sinister and that there are either hostile forces to the ongoing change or external enemies of Ethiopia behind it.
It surely was more serious than what the government wanted Ethiopians to believe. For example, internet was reportedly disconnected for nearly three hours in the capital, as reported by Aljazeera, which government explained merely as a decision made to curb “fake news on social media.”
Federal Police Commissioner,Zeinu Jemal, did not hide that there was a little acrimony as the Special Forces tried to enter palace with their arms; which is presumed to have the involvement of palace guards.
In any case, the rebellious soldiers basically got away with their demands for they saw the Prime Minister who reportedly agreed to meet them in the near future, as confirmed by his Chief of Staff Fistum Aregaa who tweeted; “HE PM Abiy Ahmed listened to the grievances carefully, reprimanded them for the wrong procedure they followed to express those grievances, but concluded the meeting with a promise to meet properly in the near future to positively consider their demands…”
In the face of camera,after he apparently distracted public attention by doing push up with the soldiers which was made headlines rather that the main story – a sort of munity, to say the least, Abiy Ahmed wanted to make what has happened appear nothing serious.
Many Ethiopians, analysts and activists, who took the matter to social media seem to be, rightly, concerned and angered at the same time with the level of anarchy those special forces demonstrated by planning to confront the prime minister in his office rather than channeling their demands following the procedures put in place as a show of respect to military discipline. Some even seem to think that it is unlikely for the armed Special Forces to spontaneously march to the palace without some sort of planned coordination and mobilization from behind, and they want Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to get to the bottom of it to identity motives and agencies behind it.
Indeed, what if the entity that possibly mobilized them to march to the palace is just testing the water as part of a plan to carry out something bigger and more dangerous? And what is the message that the incident sends to the rest of the defense force?
Social values and morality is a border to be defended on its own. Unfortunately, Ethiopia is already living an era of moral decay and anarchism which is to a freate extent a byproduct of the 27 years of rule of TPLF and political elites who rather seem to enjoy sordid gains ( both “fame” and fortune) by promoting ethnic politics, among other things. If the kind of anarchy and moral decay we witness duirng ethnic based attack which is basically driven by hate and ignorance,which fostered gullibility, is entrenched in the military, there is no pillar to hold Ethiopia alive. That is why Prime Minister Abiy needs to deal with the matter seriously while figuring out ways of launching a long term educational program in the military to foster values of selflessness and Ethiopian patriotism. Being a soldier is a selfless and patriotic act. It can not be done otherwise and it can not be done in a selfish way; some have tried to it that way but brought much misery to the country, nothing else.