I recently read Joseph Hammond's analysis of the peace-making initiatives undertaken by the new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed (New African, May 2019). The writer has recognised Dr Abiy's diplomatic initiatives of peace building as a huge step forward to tackling the challenges of the Horn of Africa with regards to political instability and protracted conflicts.
Even though I appreciate the Prime Minister's commitment to facilitating peace in the Horn of Africa in general and in restoring the relationship of Ethiopia and Eritrea back to normality in particular, I still have some reservations about his approach.
To begin with, his approach is predominantly outward-looking rather than inward-looking, as if his diplomatic tours can tackle all of his domestic challenges.
I would like to point out that most of the domestic challenges are directly or indirectly related to Ethiopia's divisive policies which emanate from the constitution, that cements ethnic-based federalism.
Abiy's reputation as a unifying figure stems from his persuasive speeches in which he emphasises unity rather than difference, unlike his two predecessors.
But in a country having close to 3m internally displaced people, his speeches have become mere rhetorical and on many occasions, lack consistency. He preaches democracy and unity, yet practises divisive, Machiavellian politics by excluding non-Oromo citizens.
He is exerting every strategy to realise the hegemony of Oromo elites in power. Consequently, the support from non-Oromos in particular is deteriorating...