thiopia is a country with a volatile and complex political history rife with violence and atrocities.It has had more than its share of wars and conflicts that have exacted terrible humanitarian, social and economic tolls since the founding of the modern. The raft of crises that have been gripping it for decades have particularly intensified ever since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) ascended to power in April 2018.
Though the early years of his rule witnessed tectonic shifts in the political and economic spheres that seemed to augur well for Ethiopia’s future, the optimism many had soon faded with the outbreak of an unending cycle of violence which has proven difficult to break. The two-year civil war in northern Ethiopia which ended with a truce in November 2022 was one of, if not the most, destructive episode to have been a stain on the nation’s conscience.
Although the geopolitical importance of the region Ethiopia finds itself in has undoubtedly played a significant role in fueling and in some cases exacerbating instability, the interminable crises that have engulfed it are fundamentally about unresolved internal political questions.
The culprits behind the conflicts racking Ethiopia are the political elite and other elements bent on sowing the seeds of division and hatred between a people who have co-existed in harmony for centuries. The brutalities unfolding across Ethiopia, in one way or another, are the works of its historical enemies and domestic collaborators who are bent on destabilizing the country for the sake of accomplishing their evil agendas. Naturally, it’s the innocent and vulnerable sections of society who disproportionately bear the brunt of the violence.
The unending bloodshed worrying Ethiopians sick has given rise to a host of questions for which no convincing answer has been provided to date. Why has it proved impossible to stop the butchery? When will the plight of the defenseless come to an end? How long can the individuals and groups, some within the structures of the government itself, behind the atrocities be allowed to intimidate unarmed compatriots?
The inability of the regional and federal government authorities to provide a clear explanation as to why they have dragged their feet when it comes to discharging their basic duty—protecting the safety and security of citizens—has evoked confusion and distrust in Ethiopians. They wonder how why the government has found it impossible to stamp out or significantly degrade the capabilities of insurgents who lack a popular base of support. Moreover, the impunity with which these elements have been operating has prompted the public at large to question whether the government is genuinely committed to quelling the violence.
The perennial insecurity Ethiopia has been mired in means the Sword of Damocles is hanging over its head. This is not just a hyperbole. The likelihood of Ethiopia joining the ranks of failed states in the immediate future may be slim to none.
Nevertheless, the probability of this specter coming to pass in the medium-to-long-term cannot be out altogether owing to a host of factors including, among others, an alarming disregard for the rule of law; the widespread violation of human and democratic rights; the proliferation of factionalized elites whose political competition risks the fragmentation of a state institutions along ethnic, class, clan, racial or religious lines; and the massive movement of refugees and internally displaced peoples. Denying the possibility of this prospect is tantamount to burying one’s head in the sand.
Peace is needed today more than ever; war and conflict only serve to unleash devastation, poverty, and hunger, and drive innocent civilians from their homes. The propensity to use force as a means to accomplish political agendas has been shown to be a strategy that only yields short-term gains and is incapable of bringing about sustainable solutions. The failure of the strategy thus far calls for a pivot towards the settlement of political differences through peaceful means, namely a genuine and inclusive national dialogue. This is the only way that Ethiopians aspiration for peace and stability can be guaranteed.