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AHMED’S ETHIOPIA: Reorienting the state and risk of disintegration

Storyline:Archive, Opinions

By Jama Mohamed Ghalib

Abiy Ahmed’s political dispensation invites, or rather incites, attention of all to whom it may concern. It is very much worth watching it with great interest.

Ethiopia is now at crossroads very similar to the situation in which the former Soviet Union found itself just before its disintegration in early 1990s.

Mikhail Gorbachev did not anticipate, much less desired, that disintegration, but he ambitiously tried to relax the rigid system of Soviet governance, which he might have had considered retarding socio-economic advancement of the then Soviet society for about more than seventy years. But he must have under estimated, though he could not have had forgotten that only that rigid system held the Soviet Union together.

Gorbachev introduced his famous plan of ‘Prestroika and Glasnaut  (re-organization and openness), ambitiously hoping to change the then socio-economic perspectives of the former Soviet society and to enable them becoming much more productive and be able to economically compete with their counterparts, the people in the west. But once he relaxed that rigid system, it became unavoidably unstoppable Pandora’s Box that immediately led to the disintegration of a powerful giant, the former Soviet Union.

Ahmed’s present initiative for Ethiopia may, in nutshell, either lead to Oromo emancipation and their legitimate empowerment, or instability in that country, even if unlike the former Soviet, such instability be short of total disintegration.

The Oromo are the largest community of all the Ethiopian population, although short of majority, about 40%. And if Ahmed’s initiative brings about a real democracy and majority rule in that country, the Oromo can always be a senior coalition partner (power sharing) of government. If, on the other hand that is denied by the non-attainment of democracy, then the alternative shall be chaos and instability.

As to the plight of the Somali people under Ethiopian rule, their status remains to be that of a colonized people regardless of any changes in Ethiopia proper.

Somalia and Ethiopia are neighbours and need to coexist peacefully, but any meaningful co-operation between the two countries is a pre-mature pipe dream, as long as Ethiopia colonizes large swathes of Somali territory and people, the Ogaden.

Jama Mohamed Ghalib is a former Somali head of Police and Author. His work include Cost of Dictatorship, The Somali Experience  (1995)