Viewpoint

Mind over matter: Abiy Ahmed’s aim to “Pentecostalize Ethiopian politics”

The premier believes the power of positive thinking can help him save Ethiopia.

Who is Abiy Ahmed, the man who has been Prime Minister of Ethiopia since 2018? In Addis Ababa, the question is often met with awkward silence. Yet the answer is vital to any deeper understanding of the present crisis in Ethiopia, and particularly of a war between the federal government and the Tigrayan authorities, which threatens to lay waste to the country and destabilize the Horn of Africa.

The mainstream interpretation is that the crisis is rooted in a struggle about whether power should lie at the center in Addis Ababa or be distributed among the capitals of the ten regional states.  In other words, should Ethiopia be a centralized federation of regions largely defined by geographical boundaries, or a looser confederation of national ethnic entities? Oligarchic interests are also at stake: in Ethiopia, positions in the party-state and personal enrichment—legal or illegal—are inseparable.

But the crisis is not purely of the here and now.

The Ethiopian empire was built in the second half of the 19th century. Its homeland was the northern highlands, its ‘colonies’ all around. Problems arising from this legacy have never been completely resolved, and it is still unclear what kind of state should be constructed on the remains of this empire that is capable of achieving legitimacy among its citizens.

These are issues that cut across the whole of Ethiopia. They have now escalated into a war between the champions of the two rival visions: Abiy for the ‘centrists’ and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for the ethnic ‘confederalists’. However, from the two, Abiy’s personal stance has had a disproportionate impact.

None of the foreign officials who have met the premier, none of the Ethiopian academics, researchers, experts, or politicians who have worked closely with him or spoken with him at length, have agreed to speak on the record, for fear of reprisals except one. But, privately, these outsiders are almost unanimous. First, they say, Abiy lacks political and historical knowledge. But the remote origins of the crisis in Ethiopia stem from opposing narratives around the country’s imperial history.

More precisely, his speeches and positioning suggest a stereotypical conception of history, rather than a sound and thorough knowledge. Second, they note that his fundamentalist Pentecostalist faith is not a private matter. He belongs to the Mulu Wongel (Full Gospel) Believers Movement, which claims 4.5 million Ethiopian members. According to almost all the interviewees, his faith dictates his political vision and actions. A few among the Ethiopian interviewees believe that he brazenly exploits this faith to reinforce his legitimacy.  They agree with a diaspora analyst who argues that “Abiy has deliberately crafted a deceptive ethos as a persuasive tool”.

Whichever is true, the outcome is the same.

Abiy believes that after Ethiopia teetered on the edge of the abyss two or three years ago, when outbreaks of violent unrest threatened the country with disintegration, the only path to salvation is a kind of moral revolution. Medemer, the concept forged by Abiy, translates roughly as “combining and uniting”.

The country will transcend its divisions, mainly ethnic in nature, by gradually coming together around a common set of moral or ethical values: love, forgiveness, reconciliation, etc. Ethiopia first and foremost needs a spiritual revolution, a change of mindset. This, he argues to his entourage, will bring not just peace and harmony, but prosperity.

It is therefore no accident that he chose the name Prosperity Party for the non-ethnic structure he created on the ruins of the former ruling coalition—made up of representatives from the four most powerful regions—which held power for 27 years. The credo of the Prosperity Gospel is that the stronger the belief, the more God will reward the believer with financial blessings. Wealth is a gift from the Almighty to those who deserve it.

There is therefore no contradiction between the strict morality of believers and Abiy’s practice of attracting supporters with gifts and positions. Merera Gudina, chairman of the opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress describes this as the “commercialization of politics”. The researcher Alex de Waal calls this framework a “political marketplace…in the form of exchange of political loyalty or cooperation for payment”.

Individuals, therefore, are at the heart of his political vision. Realities are relative, or must be concealed, as with the total media blackout on the war. He even seems to embrace the concept of ‘alternative facts’, claiming for example, that not a single civilian was killed during the seizures of Tigray’s cities, or that the majority of the refugees in Sudan are young men, despite UN refugee agency reports that most are “women and children”.

Finally, Abiy’s politics are rooted in neither established structures, historical precedent, nor institutions: “Because the truth is with us, no one will stop us… Because we work holding on to the truth, the God of Ethiopia will assist us”. According to the sources interviewed, he believes himself chosen by God as the only man who can save Ethiopia, and that provided that his will is divinely-guided, he will win.

Ethiopia’s recent history has been turbulent.

In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie, the “conquering lion of the tribe of Judah” and “elect of God”, was deposed by a Soviet-oriented military junta. There followed a long insurgency, led by a mainly Tigrayan armed force, which overthrew the junta in 1991. Once in power, the new government—which had its ideological roots in the Albanian version of Marxism-Leninism—headed a system built around and “democratic centralism” and, latterly, the “developmental state”.

The end of this 44-year ‘materialist’ interregnum was in keeping with the fundamental religiosity of the Ethiopian people. Abiy has embraced it, either by conviction and/or to assert his popularity. He describes Ethiopia as “a nation of the Creator’s cardinal wisdom”. Ethiopians largely hold to an age-old millenarianism, the belief in a prophet who will come to save the country, and Abiy has duly acquired the title of “messiah”. In the words of one adherent, Abiy “wants the soul of our nation to rise and shine once again”, a soul which “has been buried for more than 44 years, damaged and darkened… with evil intent and design”.

For the subjugated peripheral populations, however, this vision is more often perceived as an attempt to return them to a former position of subordination, of assimilation into Abyssinian civilization, a prospect that they fiercely opposed and oppose. The clash between the TPLF and Abiy is therefore not only the expression of two opposing visions and objectives for Ethiopia. It is also a reflection of two approaches, one secular, the other religious, which are irreconcilable.

Abiy recently confessed privately to a foreign official: “My people don’t understand me”. While his popularity has surged among the Amhara after the victory in the conventional war in Tigray, nationally his star is waning. The so-called “law-enforcement operation” in Tigray has taken an ethnic turn, with Amhara police and militia engaging Tigrayan forces and claiming territory. These events conceal a second front, even more perilous in the longer term: the armed civil resistance in parts of Oromia, home to more than a third of the country’s population.

The economy, particularly foreign investment, is in decline rather than showing the promised improvement. A cleansing of Tigrayans has begun in the administration, and in public and even private companies, with the potential to trigger an infernal and self-sustaining cycle. Because his medemer ideology has not percolated downwards, Abiy has reverted to more or less the same heavy-handed methods and disastrous divisive tactics that he won power by opposing. The main opposition figures are in jail, journalists and even some academics are intimidated, sometimes imprisoned.

For onlookers on all sides, domestic and external, even among leaders in the Horn of Africa, the specter that now raises its head is of ethnic slaughter at a scale even more terrible than in former Yugoslavia. They are pleading tirelessly for an “inclusive national dialogue” as the only way to prevent such an outcome. Abiy has systematically refused, either because he sincerely believes he is a messiah, the only one who can “‘Pentecostalize’ Ethiopian politics”, as described by anthropologist Dereje Feyissa, or simply out of a thirst for power.

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Main photo: Abiy with regional leaders at the inauguration of Unity Park; 10 October 2019; PMO.

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About the author

René Lefort

René has been writing about sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970s and reported on the region for French newspapers. He is now a researcher and publishes in academic titles such as The Journal of Modern African Studies.

105 Comments

  • I have one question for Mr LeFort .There has been five elections in Ethiopia all of them won by tplf most of them by 90-100% .Do you believe this ? This will tell you all about tplf .Powet Power and Power . Why ?

    • Mr Lefort i didn’t mean all your analysis are wrong but some didn’t look like given from an outsider. I like to see your comments and analysis that is how we know about our leaders,their weakness, strength, friends and enemies. Thank you .

  • First of all, the Full Gospel Church of Ethiopia doesn’t hold the so called prosperity gospel. As a member of this church, the PM can’t be associated with what you falsely claim.
    Secondly, just as you said, the clash between Abiy and tplf is both ethical and ideological- just vs evil, virtue vs vice, humility vs pride. Tplf has always been associated with pride, vice, cruelty, and unsuitable greed. The clash began when tplf knew for sure that it can never keep going the way it used to.
    Finally, the physical war has ended with the just winning against the evil. The rest will follow! Keep watching! You will witness!

  • Dear King Ja-War

    Try to control your hate!

    Amharas are largely Orthodox Christians for whom the messiah already came. They believe no nonsense.

    To reply to your hateful remark:
    Amharas unlike any other ethnicity are rich in literature (both oral and written). They have amazing stories to tell to their children, they tell philosophical poems (Qinie), they practice astrology, they write in their own letters, they have musical scales Tizita, Batti, Ambassel, and Anchihoye…

    You may not like all this and call it teret teret (story), because you don’t understand what stories mean for societies rich in culture and literature.

  • Your basic premise is wrong. It was not a war between two visions. though true they exist.
    The TPLF
    1. Spent two years trying to get rid of Abiy, including the June July attempted coup engineered with Jawar M via the singer Halachus murder.

    2. Yes The TPLF wanted Federalism BUT. with them back in charge. That was never Federalism.
    You totally misunderstand the massive support all over the country for Abiys action in Tigrai.
    You also massively overstate the idea that the majority of the country has a vision for a coming Messiah.
    A very shallow analysis with a huge degree of anti Pentecostalism.

    Abiy is far from perfect but better than any current other options.
    Frank Rispin

    Addis Resident 23 years

  • “They have now escalated into a war between the champions of the two rival visions: Abiy for the ‘centrists’ and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for the ethnic ‘confederalists’. However, from the two, Abiy’s personal stance has had a disproportionate impact.”

    Really Lefort? I used to have some respect for you with some reservations (your TPLF obsession) but now I see you are still under the spell of TPLF.

    This was not a fight about visions. This was a fight initiated by a mafia clique by attacking the country’s military, who stupidly assumed they will either destroy the nation or get a better negotiating position to gain the power they had lost overnight. It is a fight against hubris that was a long time coming.

    I don’t even like Abiy. Some aspects of his personality are grating. And the outcome of this war will still need to be investigated.

  • So true Mr. Lefort. It must given
    the credit to Abiy for stating the obvious himself. There is no questionn about that he is both in overtly and covertly undoing or underming federalism system in every turn and oppurtunity that presents itself . But thec mysterious questions is why his apologists are obfuscating, denying, eviscerating, and excusing for him? It is very likely that they afraid of the hell will break loose and they will lose the grip on things at no time as the past history evidenced. It’s the fear of sudden return of the Liberation Fronts and mushrooming of rebellious nations in evey corner, which unlike the Derg , no one is now prepared or can hold back effectively and strategically. Ironically Abiy himself himself is oblivious to these impending dangers due to either lack of leadership experience and historical events, an influence of soothesayers and charlatans surrounded on him or out of sheer arogance and the beliefs that somehow a supernatural Gospel miracle will save him in the end.

    • Sir Lefrot,
      I tried to read your artikel about ethiopia and dr. Abiy and the war between the eth. Government the small Junta groupes who won the attention of the nations through media.

      Sir, if you really want to know the truth, it is one thing not to be diverted by some masked and beutifully articulated and expressed with self made news, and it is another thing just to be taken away with the information which are still not
      proved, and are far away from the truth.
      If you write an artikel about which you still have not proved
      but just heard it from some body
      who is making his poletical buissness, I tell you Sir Laferot,
      You have been missused of such peoples who them selves are blid and are trying to blind others with their false informations.
      It is really very shame t, I dare to say, that you spread such dirty infomations and spoil the mind i.e. conciousness of your hearers und readers.
      Do you really know that it is very hard task to heal the spoiled mind later on wenn every thing is cleared due time?

      If it is so, why rashing to spread
      unproved artikel.

      The tigray people belong to ethiopia. If you state about ethiopia, you mean you are telling about tigray. Ethiopia whithout tigray is incomplet.
      It is just like wenn I talk about France, I mean I talk about Leon. I hope you now undestand me better. If you don’t put your self in the shoe of some one else, you don’t understand the pain of that person.

      This group, the tigrian libration group, had the opportunity for three decades
      Ethiopia to govern, but they were not faithfull.
      There are unnumberable crimes
      done by, ruled by, these some groupes in the last 30 years of their ruling. They are well traind criminals, they built very complicated crime-netwok that dr. Abiy is know trying to dismantel. They are responsible with proove for direct and indirect crimes, for the bloodshade still now being taking place. They even bribed others sothat they still now because of servival fight against their own etnics.

      The trouble taking place now, is not caused by dr Abiy, instead already deep rooted mafia network resulted by the so called tigray libration front. After all they possed fals name, from whom do they librate the tigray? the peoples of tigray were really enslaved by them, how does it come that they librate the tigrians?

      Sir Lefort, you would have understood the tigrians, if you had heard the heartbeat of the poor tigrians being now in tigray region.
      Offcourse if you have concern for the tigrians, you have an access to travel to the region and see the fact, then you will have substancial fact to write based on that fact.
      Now every thing is being settled.
      Just have contact with the ethiopian primeminister office.
      They have homepage site, please visite this site, you will be informed with whom to have contact.

      For your infomation, acording to the article you wrote, one is personalising the matter, telling about dr Abiy’s private life to mislead you. Sir, if you really love and have concern for ethiopia, for the time being just be neutral try to have the other dimension of the information flood. We are in a new era where through many information floods are flowing.
      But it is up to us how to shoose
      and be transported by the flood.

      Once again the group which now under the shalter of justice, have blood in their hands.

      This group have lost their concious. They do not regret wenn they kill children, mothers unnumbered juths. They cripeled many with their systematic torching. Many children are fatherless, lost thier futurity. The let many etnics prosperd illegally that is why we are now facingin every corner of the country troubles. These troubles are not made by dr. Abiy.

      The operation taken by the government ruled by dr. Abiy is just to bring these groupes to justice, nothing else.
      These groupes never represent
      the poor tigrian peoples who were in the same way as the rest part ethiopian peoples, opressed

      If you want to know more deeper, “the tigrian libration group” are a group of big families and relatives.

      Sir how do you cooperate with such criminals? if you write an unproved article which supports them? please don’t make your article a hidding place for wanted criminals.

      I am just raising this question to your concious.

      Sicerly greetings
      Yitagesu Derilo
      yitafer@yahoo.de

  • As Ethiopians of today , we don’t Count Amhara only built the past & the present Ethiopia, This type of narration kills the Unity of all Ethiopians, pis stop dividing narration & tales.

    Even we now who are.

    We are one in peirsol , who comes out beye hive when enemy surpasses our dignity.

  • We need more Ethiopians , who address the mere truth those realities practiced by Tplf pundits.
    Leave alone to the one resading in Ethiopia , outsiders have enough documents about these.

    Thanks Yared.

    • Once and for all. It’s useless to react to the accusation of being a “TPLF pundit”. I was not allowed to enter in Ethiopia as journalist for years under the TPLF regime, and even expelled upon arrival in Bole despite having a visa in due form. Instead of this kind of stupid comments, try on the opposite to present hard facts and strong arguments to critic my writings.

      • Oh…Come on, Rene! Don#t underestimate the power of readers of to read inclinations of the heart. Every single sentence you write smells in defence of TPLF. Don’t reprimand readers for telling you the fact.

      • It’s interesting that you tried to understand the mind of Abiye through his religious faith. If the man is disseminating positive and uplifting values gleaned from his faith to change attitudes of hatred and encourage people to appreciate what they have in common than accentuate their differences, I don’t see why you’re construing that as a deficiency in his leadership ability. But leaving aside his Pentecostal faith, I find it curious that you did not mention what triggered the armed conflict that started on that early November day.
        You rightly mentioned that the conflict in Ethiopia is over whether to have a centralized Federal system, democratically run, or a confederation of ethnic states, autonomous ethnic states with loose relationship to the center. As you well know, the ethnic federalism system hatched and developed by TPLF did not bring about peace and prosperity in the ethnic states, in fact, the political arrangement pitied one ethnic group against another. It was obvious TPLF divided the nation into ethnic states to facilitate their grip on power and prolong their stay in power for the longest time possible. It was a superficial Ethnic Federal system where the ethnic states did not have real power.
        For twenty-seven years they ruled with an iron-hand , trampling on citizen’s democratic rights, rewarding their henchmen in the ethnic states, and eliminating those who oppose them.
        Once they lost power, they retreated to their region and basically became a de facto state. From their fortified state they started clandestinely supporting armed conflicts in the different regions of the country, exasperating the security situation in the country.
        Abiye actually has been very patient in his dealings with the TPLF leadership. He had tried to resolve the dispute peacefully, but he was rebuffed numerous times.
        Abiye’s government is blameless in what transpired in the Tigre in the last two months. The blame rests on the TPLF leadership. It’s their hubris and exaggerated confidence in their military power that drove them to attack the Northern Military Command center on that wee hours of November 4th, 2020.
        They started the war to engulf the whole country with war and ease themselves back to power. A puerile thinking that led to their ruin.
        You mentioned that this war is likely to spread to other regions, I have heard other Foreign analysts say the same thing. I tend to think actually this war will weaken or end the conflicts in other regions because a major source of support for the insurrection in some regions was TPLF. Now that the TPLF is totally removed from the Ethiopian political scene, the country will gradually attain peace and concentrate on building its democracy and move on with the work of developing the whole nation.

  • Mr. Lefort,
    Ethiopia has 80 ethnicities. How relevant are the ten ethnically based regional states to the rest of the 70 ethnic groups?
    “power should lie at the center in Addis Ababa or be distributed among the capitals of the ten regional states”

  • Abiy Ahimed (Phd), shows more love & hope to our country. That’s remarkable achievement as a nation. Game over TPLF🙄 (who have wasted & abused our 30yrs).
    Though, i personally have a concern on the ability of opposition parties & activists for understanding the situations on ground.

    • What are you talking about?Abiy doesn’t deserve to lead the country. He lacks leadership skill to take out of the problems we had , rather he spent time by creating new problems day to day. County can’t be lead by political plots rather by feasible plans. He want to inject us his ideology.

  • Rene has studied Ethiopia for long. I take his writing seriously. But I find it difficult to believe that Abiy is against multinational federation. There is no statement by Abiy to this effect. His conflict with tplf is more about power struggle than about federalism. But the Amhara who supported him in this conflict may have their own interpretation of Abiy’s desire. Non Amharas have their apprehensions. I think Abiy would want to reform the federal system, but there is no evidence that he wants to dismantle it.

    • Abiy in Harrague, 19 Octobre 2019: “What are we going to do with the current one (federamism)? We will dismantle it! We will dismantle the name, the idea, and the structure. Otherwise, there is no victory”. Officially, Abiy has always mentionned the “cultural” or “linguistic” rights of the different nations, never their right to a self gvt. He has several times criticized “ethnic federalisme” and mentionned a kind of mix of geographical, ethnical mix to define the diffrent regions.

      • So true Mr. Lefort. It must given
        the credit to Abiy for stating the obvious himself. There is
        no questionn about that both in overtly and covertly undoing or underming federalism system in every turn and oppurtunity that presents itself . But mysterious questions why his apologists are obfuscating, denying, eviscerateing, and excusing for him? It is very likely they afraid of that the hell will break loose and they will lose the grip on things at no time as the past history evidenced. It’s the fear of sudden return of Front Liberation and mushrooming of rebellious nations in evey corner, which unlike the Derg , no one is prepared or can hold back effectively and strategically. Ironically Abiy himself himself is oblivious to these impending dangers due to either lack of leadership experience and historical events, an influence of soothesayers and charlatans surrounding on him or out of sheer arogan and the beliefs that somehow a supernatural Gospel miracle will save him in the end.

      • The weakest and the most reckless leader in Ethiopia, perhaps next to “tsadiqu yohannis” of the Gindarine Era!

        Inoccent bloods are flowing everyday for the last two and half years since his coming to power!

        What is the love and the forgiveness he preached to those who slaughtered in Oromiya and Benishangul? Oh lord! Open the eyes of those people who can’t “see” the horror perpetrated by Abiy,Shimesles,Ashadli et.all. Put it short, Abiy is a solo flyer dictator who wants to stay in power at the expense of the suffering of Ethiopian people and Ethiopians demand for democracy.

      • Dear Mr. Lefort, I want to assure you one thing. I am from Oromo ethnic group who oppose the idea of dismantling the federation. I have heard Dr. Abiy’s speach in Hararghe. However, what he tried to refer was not about the federation. It was TPLF governance system. I think the person who translate that he said might mislead you. I supported the idea at that time. We suffered a lot on TPLF governance system. Still some of the organizational system which TPLF established did not fully dismantle. Take it as positive.

  • Great read Rene! Thank for sharing this important perspective. Abiy is committing heinous crimes against Ethiopian citizens and I believe it stems from his thirst for power and his religion is his mask. The world can see Abiy for what he truly is – pure evil.

  • Mr. René Lefort insulted the Ethiopian people as a whole saying, “Ethiopians largely hold to an age-old millenarianism, the belief in a prophet who will come to save the country.” This is an extremely offensive statement and the article should’t be published for its entire content to begin with. The editor should be responsible to remove offensive content out but chose not to. This is sad. Yes, we know the editor was banished from Ethiopia for his allegedly lying to enter Ethiopia. He is a persona non grata as long as the incumbent government is in power. But that is not an excuse to allow a cantankerous old man to insult the people of Ethiopia as a whole.

    • Is it an insult to write that hundreds of million of Evangelists are convinced that the Earth has been created four thousand years ago and that Jesus Christus will come back soon on Earth?

      • No, but it’s simplistic, and an incomplete assessment, as is your assertion that Abiy is out to Pentecostalize Ethiopia. Your article is disappointing in its lack of depth, and because you chose to speak to a few ‘insiders-outsiders’ whose position appears to have changed dramatically from when they were in the inner sanctum. If your scope had been larger to look at the cult of personality that the PM is drawing around him (including leading Orthodox influentials), his expansive appeal to a large swathe of Ethiopians whom he has charmed with fluency in the three working languages of the country, and the unique position he holds among Muslim Ethiopians, not only as one of them (by heritage, if not by professed religion) but because he managed to bring together the Meglis, then that would be somewhat closer to the truth. You drew a two-dimensional picture of a complicated figure, and that made for a disappointing article.

      • lol this one I enjoyed. This article calls for more study of the Oromo people and the psychological impact of converting into Protestantism (the last power that destroyed their indigenous spirituality) in addition to the Ethiopian Tewhdo Church and Islam. How is that an Oromo who came to power by the direct result of the demand of the Oromo people can hide behind his religious believes putting side the issue that brought him to power

  • Eventhough Mr. Rene has an age of a dinosaur, his history lesson about Ethiopia is of the age of TPLF. His writings are like a yak woman, crying to get an attention. Regarding the pentecostalism, in the past you tried to discredit Dr.Abiy in his political life, social life, work life, school life, you were not successful, but remained n limbo. You were left with his spiritual, and love life. That is what you are trying now, his spiritual life, but the same will be the result. You have one more to go his love life good luck for that.

    Ethiopia is older than Dr. Abiy. She had and still has so many wonderful men and women, he is one of them. I don’t know the bad part of him being a pentecostal christian. He can’t leave his belief and be only a politician, as you couldn’t be able to leave being an activist for TPLFand biased journalist to be only a ‘historian/researcher’

    • The “spiritual life” of Abiy Ahmed doesn’t interess me at all, but when this “spiritual life” become the vector of his policicy, any obsever of Ethiopia has the right and the duty to make it public.

  • Dear Welday, If you were writing this out of lack of information about TPLF and the contemporary situations since April 2017 I would believe you. But you are ignorant of the situations and believe the politics and agenda that was running throughout the country. The killings and the hatred were designed and sponsored or in some cases executed by TPLF. And both you and I know this fact. Please stop the ugly drama that is orchestrated by the JUNTA! Abiy has no reason to KILL! That is the fact.

  • Rene La Forte,

    Hands off Ethiopia.

    This is about you not a suffering country like Ethiopia yes Abyssinia trying to renew itself.

    You are more like Vichy than the resistance.

    In the words of the main actor in the film Casablanca your words are not worth more than a hill of beans.

    I am sorry this is not the beggining of a beautiful friendship.

  • Dear Rene,
    As much as I respect your perspective, you and insight need to make correction on the statement that reads “Ethiopians largely hold to an age-old millenarianism, the belief in a prophet who will come to save the country..”.
    I can bet No single people of nations & nationalities of the country believes such non sense except Amhara. Amharas love “teret teret” which can be translated to bed time stories. The rest of us DON’T.

    • Amhara created Ethiopian kingdom and the others can not handle their inferiority feeling and they rather destroy what Amhara build for them

    • Why on earth would you choose to pass by the name of King jawar which is a teret teret if you don’t believe in it? You cannot resist taking a dig at the amharas. You really have to work on tackling the source of your —– complex.

  • I think Mr Lefort is just peeved that his baby, focoism or his Latin American based theory that a ‘foco’ that is small elite can wage guerrilla war and thus control entire countries seems to be quite unwell.

    I suppose Weyane filled the bill very well therefore proving Mr Lefort correct.

    The eclipse of TPLF and failure of focoism through the world including Latin America may not sit well with the writer.

    However, there was no need to have a go at Abyssinia and try to trash history and culture, and calling Ethiopia a 19th century invention was uncalled for.

    Was France an invention of Napoleon or Jean d’arc? or was Gaul more ancient?

    • Your are completely wrong. Historians agree that France was created by the king Philippe August who ruled from 180 to 1223

  • You know what the problem with you egalitarians?, it’s envying and Ego! They would label an extraordinary orator as religious or superstitious. We had enough egalitarians in the past half century, they messed up everything almost. Now i think we need to incorporate long standing norms and legacies to the utmost to stabilize the three thousand years country to its natural state.

    It was not TPLF who led the opposition against derg, it was EPLF.

    When you describe our difference/diversity, it will simply be identified that you’re talking the dictionary form difference or you’re simply echoing the TLLF junta’s propaganda. You know what was the most difficult assignment for TPLF? It was defining the country!! OMG! I can show you many hilarious vedio footages that the oligarchy discusing to answer a question like “who is this country ?”, it is generally called defining the existing condition. In a nutshell, TPLF from its birth to its grave was a group with a concerting hatred for derg, and as the same time looks it as a holy embodiment for true socialism and conspicuous revolution.

    This is for TPLF,
    I’m sorry TPlF, all hard problems were properly and accurately addressed by Derg. You wouldn’t have ask again on 1991 and intended to live the rest of your life by answering the wrong question. All equality issues was addressed by mengistu(actually a fair egalitarian)!! You could have pursue developmental theory not elusive revolutionary democracy or tribalism at that time. That’s why defining the existing condition was went out of your control. Then you had started making mountains out of a molehill.

    Portraying the prime minister as a Pentecostal reformist is also a misunderstanding of our grand social fabric. If you mention GOd in your speech, then egalitarians will get annoyed. Abiy on a perfect track, he is restoring the country, he is doing to the people what should be done after the 17 years of socialism in 1991, b/c the flow was interrupted by bandit TPLF. After passing through the painful way with derg , the people should have been exposed to an “independent organ era” only, not to tribalism.

    • Thanks, for the truth Yared , you are on the right track, Rene, must be a demagogue and has no idea about Ethiopia. In today’s world common sense+synergy = prosperity. Dr Abiy is giving the right
      Prescription, and we will be cured and prosper.
      Let the learning continue!

  • Abiy is like the snake in the Grass, He might talk like the sweet grannies. But after 2018-the time he came to power there were many assassinations, massive killings, untold individual killings, etc. Everyone should have to know that he is responsible for each and every of these.

      • Am sure is easy to get rid off. Problem is those behind him are not purchased on political marketplace. What’s the fear though??!!

  • The author may not have understood the deceptive agenda of TPLF, and concluded that as if TPLF were ethnic confederalist. But the fact is theu used only the name but regions doesn’t have any power. They were fully controlled & that is why they fully exercised their legitmate power we looking few confrontations here & there. These is natural but may not stay long unless external intruders & enemies of Ethiopia used these oprtunities to create chaos & distabilze the nation. Beyond these analysis put the author about Abiy is not unioniest is completely false. He is working hard to maintain the real federalist system not the fake one uaed by the former juntas. What ever the enemies of Ethiopia exerted their pressure towards our nation, we always wins and prevails. Glory to our people and deaths our historical enemies.

  • Abiy Ahmed (PHD) might think as “my people don’t understand me”.
    But the fact that he should have to realized is different by far.

    As a citizen who is sharing the thought of many people, and admirer of his dream, I know that:-

    * He is a person who has a great ambition and visions for Ethiopia and its people.

    * He is striving day and night to bring UNITY and prosperity for the people.

    * Unlike the previous leaders, he is a person with a great personality of selfless.

    * He achieved the great achievements before and after he took the Primary position.

    However, he couldn’t materials his goodwill at the current stages.

    Security, lack of good governance, corruption, are among many contemporary disasters in Ethiopians.

    The major cause for this problem emanating from his lack of concentration and good criteria for the process of selecting person to governmental high positions.

    So, it is true that “Abiy Ahmed is preaching UNITY, but flying SOLO”.

    • Good to note that “… lack of good governance, corruption are contemporary disasters in Ethiopians.”

      “… the process of selecting person to governmental high positions.” — This is a sticky issue; he just cannot do away with the well-established TPLF selection process of ethnic “elites” who were meticulously hand-picked for their ignorance and, hence, readily manipulable garbage. Changing the course will fetch disturbances at least on the short term.

      Yes, “Abiy Ahmed is preaching UNITY, but flying SOLO”.
      Indeed, he cannot sit idle. Look how he is venturing into park developments while the so-called ministry of urban development is beating sound the bush with their corruption. However, he is also getting the military and the public at large around him.

      HE IS A GREAT LEADER!

  • It’s strange that some critics are grounding their displeasure with article on the bases of the writer being a foreigner, who suppedly doesn’t know much about or doesn’t have a good intention at heart. This couldn’t be convincing stance. It basically sounds shooting the messenger first instead of critically dealing with the message/issue at hand itself or relaying on uncritical xenophobic notionas at best. I makes wonder how many among the natives are well versed with their genuine past history or honestly and critically able to examine it through.

    That said, I believe this commentary is timely and on the spot as far as Col Abiy’s public actions and political failures are concerned for three reasons : igniting an unecessary conflict, be it in the initial casus belli bases or his vehement refusal for reasonable dialogue and descalation calls. His public peddling, infatuations , and encouraging of cultist and Gospel fundamentalism to the point of superimposing it on the public sphere and the nature of secular political parties, thereby misrepresenting the whole thing. Accordingly, it’s outrageous and infantile
    mindset for an African leader to say in front of a meeting in the African Union Hall ,where one third of delegates are Christian followers, one-third traditional, followers and third are one-third Islamic follower ‘ if only we could embrace on the teachings of of the Prosperity Gospel.’
    Even the late Haile Selassie with all his ” God-elected and divinity claims’ never tried to do such contempous acts. Lastly, he is failing gradually but surely in every other political front and expect to deal with as he promised.to do, including the public confidence and. due reforms, supposed election and model of equitable federalism , security and economics issues and so on On the contrary, it goes now without saying if this would be the return and second version of the old cruelt centralism era and the one omnipresent party with an authocratic ruler, but with streak of religious fundamentalism bearing this time around. Heaven forbid!

    • We have had too many foreign dosages. Go to France and tell them what to do. Go to Europe, America, China and try being the messenger there, and see how successful you will be there with their natives. Seems like God made Africa as the only place that any messenger can arrive at its doorstep with messages fron heaven and hell and Africans are obligated to accept their messages, though all over Africa those mdssegss were mainly coming from hell. As Bob Martley said We don’t want no devil philosophy. Emancipate yourself from mental slavery with all those foreign messengers. I respect the eritreans and their fierce nationalism.
      OK, so you evaluate the message. Then what’s about you taking your message to the World Bank, IMF, European Union, WTO and all of their likes, and see if they would dismiss you, but accept your message! Try it!
      Techawet says it best when Le Forte the messenger was asked to go to America and ask them to what he is asking Ethiopia to do! So you take the messenger’s dosage like an animal taking vaccine.

      Tribalism has inflicted exorbitantly more harm on Africa than Ebola HIV aids, covid, cancer, diabetes, cataract, stroke, colonialism, malaria, zika combined. Messengers like Monsieur Le Forte exploits these ailments and we have to have new lens on how we look at ourselves, which is the Message Abiy is ordained with. Why would you prefer to listen to the French Messenger Le Forte, and not your own Medemer Messenger Abiy!
      The word Gospel simply means GOOD NEWS, and that is the MEANING PM Abiy applies to his vision for Ethiopia. The word GOSPEL is used in English in all kinds of contexts in politics, literature, culture, daily conversations, totally distinct from its biblical usage. Gospel as a term has become part of daily speech, and you should liberate your mind such that you should not let Le Forte interpret for you what your own Prime Minister enunciates eloquently. Do you prefer Le Firte’s tribalism from hell and end up as ALL of France’s Dracula bloody ex colonies, or the good GOSPEL of Abiy’s ONENESS, ONE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE and come as close to paradise as possible, remembering that God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and your Bible says in the first chapter that in that Garden of Eden that the River Gihon is ” the same that compasseth THE WHOLE LAND OF ETHIOPIA” (Genesis 2:13). That is the message. The land was one, the people were one and God was and is ONE.
      Will you prefer Monsieur Le Firte’s devils philosophy with rivers of blood, or Abiy’s Mendemer with rivers of peace and prosperity. You choose which if the two messengers you follow.

  • No matter how divisive Abiy may have been, we all have to admit the following achievements:

    – Tplf, the main group responsible for instigating ethnic divisions across Ethiopia is gone.
    – Except for some Oromo activists who are imprisoned, the larger Oromo population is now free to express their
    language, culture, and political views as opposed to their hardship during previous regimes.
    – Eritrea and Ethiopia are at peace even though we have the obvious problem of Tigray conflict.
    – Except for the ethnic nationalists, all the other Ethiopian groups seem to be united in supporting his actions.

    Let us remember, he did not create the current wave of ethnic tensions, he merely inherited them. Instead of pointing fingers, let us put ourselves in the shoes of the prime minister. We would probably quit on the first day.

  • The piece shows a flagrant bias against the incumbent Ethiopian PM and a painful nostalgia for the destroyed TPLF leadership. The author blindly believed his unstated sources (assuming he had them) and he chose not to hear from the other side and blamed the PM anyway. Mr. Lefort knows that the trouble Ethiopia is experiencing now is the result of the ethnic federal system. Yet, the author blames PM Abiy for trying to alleviate the problem . To make matters worse, he accuses Abiy of calling himself “a God sent Messiah”. This is an insult to all readers. On the other hand, if René Lefort believes that ethnic federalism is fine, why does not he fight to implement it is his own country. Mr. Lefort is misinforming and disforming his audience based on his biased understanding of the Abiy government.

  • I have been following the Author for long time. As always, he writes the absolute TRUTH , It is surprising how articulate he is and knows the intricate problems of our country, ‘if we have a country by now ‘ What is not surprising is the barking of ‘we know it all elites ‘ depth of understanding , it is sad to see we go down this low as Ethiopians to evade the truth

    • Salih.
      The Devil always know how to talk. The devil as loaded with knowledge. Satan the DEVIL is the world’s greatest Scholar. The devil has so much knowledge that already in heaven he was studying Man, just the same way Frenchman Le Forte studying you, and that makes you so impressed with his truth!

    • You say so because you are brainwashed! Which country of the world has such primordial identity based federation? None, except Ethiopia!

  • This is a TPLF propaganda masquerading as an “expert analysis.” Rene, a foreigner, has no qualms to consider himself an “expert” on Ethiopia and write this gibberish, but dismiss Abiy, an Ethiopian, the country’s current PM, longtime (EPRDF) politician and military officer, as someone lacking knowledge in Ethiopia’s history and politics. That’s not to mention Abiy’s education that includes a PhD in peace and security studies, for whatever its worth. This is a classic case of the colonial-relic sense of entitlement and know-it-all-better-than-thou attitude exhibited by white, mostly European, self-proclaimed Africa experts writing on African affairs at its breathtaking best.

    To begin with, the “Pentecostalization” of Ethiopian politics was designed and implemented by the TPLF goons, not by Abiy. From its inception, the TPLF gang worked tirelessly to demonize, corrupt, weaken and destroy the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (ETOC) in its quest to eliminate all Ethiopian social fabrics that transcend ethnicity in its quest to divide and destroy Ethiopia. During its 27+ years reign of terror, the TPLF portrayed the ETOC as an instrument of the historical Amhara oppression, ethnicized and politicized its leadership, clergy and places of worship, confiscated its sacred properties and banished its members from political power. TPLF, despite hailing from Tigray, the coveted land of saints, pioneers and holy places of the ETOC, preached and encouraged entire ethnic groups to convert to Protestantism and bash the ETOC. The TPLF also used being a Protestant or being a non-member or hostile towards the ETOC as the major criterion for assuming any meaningful political, economic or social power. The TPLF allotted large tracts of land, facilitated transfer of funds, gave extensive positive PR coverage for Protestant denominations and gave promotions to members of Protestant denominations in politics and all aspects of life.

    Moreover, the TPLF never espoused the idea of confederation, whatever that may mean. Abiy is presiding over the same system that the TPLF designed and built, save for the largely cosmetic change of forming a unified party in the form of Prosperity Party, the idea of which was also floated but never fully implemented by the TPLF itself. The TPLF designed the ethnic-apartheid system it built not to save Ethiopia, but to enable it to loot and dismantle Ethiopia from the position of power and eventually dismantle the country when it loses control.

    By the way, what confederation are you really talking about, Rene? Whose aspiration is this? What model or precedent can you cite historically or currently in the entire world for Ethiopia to emulate? If the current ethnic-based system has led to an all-out war between the very elite that designed and implemented it, not to mention the catastrophic people-to-people conflagration, what makes you think the presumably even more divided and loose “confederation” would work?

    • So a foreigner has no right to comment on the situation Ethiopia. That’s a very strange conception of the freedom of expression and the academic freedoms.

      • A foreigner can comment in a country but with out selling rationality so that have full image about what he comment

  • This is very far away from the truth What I want to say is you better to visit our country and you should know how things are going on
    Dr abiy ahmed is the best leader ever that has come in ethiopia leadership

  • First of all, I am very sorry the article from Rene Lefort doesn’t at all have a grain of truth and about the Ethiopia political prtfolio, it is rather unprofessional, very baised and far from the reality.
    Except from baised assumptions and perceptions, the article doesn’t constitute any evidences, experiences and grace of expressive facts. The article rather undermines the social, political and economic will of Ethiopians.
    Mr Rene should understand that PM Abiy is trying to do his maximum leadership efforts wisely to stablise and resolve Ethiopian politics, which has been divisively damaged by the egocentric and corrupt TPLF groups.
    I advise Rene to come to Ethiopia and interview the people, learn from the fact in the spot and re-examin his baised perception and understanding how the people very supportive of his leadership.

    • I come regularly to Ethiopia since 1977. I am “in the spot” on average twice a year, since 2003, in a rural kebele of Amhara NOrth Shoa region. I suspect that very very few observers of Ethiopia have spent so much time “in the spot”.

  • Dear Writer,
    I have read your article.
    What I wonder is that people who want Ethiopia not to advance, a country who struggles to end a nearly 30 years of self colony,…
    are still echoing the narratives of those butchers of our country and economy.

    PM Abiy is trying to get our country move forward. He has to be nominated for second Nobel peace prize for his accomplishments so far. The killings and massacre we see today are the fruits of TPLF.
    So respected writer, I can see that you very little information about what has been done the past nearly 30 years. If you are unaware, better to come to Ethiopia and get acquainted with the reality, please do not echo the false narratives of 27 years. Westerners, if you want to assist Ethiopians and Ethiopia, please, please speak, write the fact. We have had enough. Ethiopia will get over this political chaos with good people like Dr Abiy and God’s help.

    • I come regularly to Ethiopia since 1977. I am “in the spot” on average twice a year, since 2003, in a rural kebele of Amhara NOrth Shoa region. I suspect that very very few observers of Ethiopia have spent so much time “in the spot”.

      • HERE IS THE NOBEL LAUREATES FAULT.

        Right now the situation in Ethiopia is no more good than the PM Meles Zenawi era. I do belive that for the following reasons even worsens
        1. The war with TPLF which was one of the parties forming a coalition with the other three parties governing ethiopia for the past 30 years wont end. This manily because the majority of government officials in Tigray region are loyal supporter of TPLF.

        2. More than this the Dr Abey Ahmed friendship with the Erterian president and the fact that the erterian president is an arch enemy of the tigray region complicates the matter. It is higly unlickly that peace will come between erteria and ethiopia in particular because of the tigray region civil war. It is only when Eritrea is in peace with the tigray region peace comes for the war that claims the life many many erterian and tigrans. The fact is many of the soldiers fighting that war are TPLF leaders.

        3. The fact that Abey opts for a centralised power rather than a distributed federalist system is worsening the ethinical conflicts. Such mass massacres and conflicts in an ethnic centric benshanguel Gomez, afar, somalya and gambela is solved only by socio political improvement. The fact that a one Prospherity party formation and the fact that ethincs are further pushed away from governance further pushes the worsening ethincs conflicts.

        4. The role of opposition parties in promoting a distributed federalism is further decreasing than the promised political space by Dr Abey Ahmed when he was in power.

        5. In conclusion the being built centralist federalism system had a real danger of pushing away key ethinical powers that was in governance for the past 30 years. It is when regions are equally progressing prospherity is achieved and a civil war is avoided. What is happening recently should be only avoided by socio polotical solutions. The goverment should look at the inside before pointing fingers to outside factors.

  • Dear Mr. Rene’ Lefort, well comeback.
    From you writings I can see you have connectedness to Ethiopia in one way or another, but it seams you are of highly biased. Probably this may be from one of two factors, either you have been highly preached by TPLF narratives and had been convinced by it; or you know the truths and facts but intentionally twisting it to fit to the narratives of your partner TPLF so that you benefit out of it. which one is it, only you and God know!
    I remember – at the dawn of the conflict, you told us no one on earth will stop or beat TPLF. If the war starts, TPLF will throw away Abiy, and will finish the unfinished job they started in 2000 to bring the demise of Afewerki of Eritrea – reasoning that they have 250,000 Battle-hardened forces. as the operation approached towards the dusk of TPLF, someway you reverted your narratives. You somehow confessed and told us they have lost their brains and misjudged; but still they are going to win, though through extended gorilla warfare. you told us they misguided not only you but the diplomatic community by convincing them if fighting breaks out, the region will fall into chaos if they don’t rule Ethiopia – though puzzling – so just go to the negotiating table, you told us. In the end that all turned-out to be false!

    When your narratives failed, you comeback in this article on the PM to seedling the religious division by portraying him as politically naïve, is centralist who is against federalism, putting himself as savior of Ethiopia, him who is trying to preach Pentecostal… Even you went to misinterpreting Medemer as ‘combining Unity’ to support your narrative.
    I think, if you don’t want to contribute or to help positively, it will be better if you leave us alone! Please please.

    God blessed Ethiopia Will thrive forever!!!

    • Strange, very strange… Aparently this reader has some difficulties the difference between the facts, positions, analysis of the people I discuss with, which I report, and what I have personnally in mind. I would say: quotes are not endorsement.

  • Abiy is very knowledgeable leader about Ethiopian in history, that is why the only things is God with him .In an other way he is Hamble and equal thinking of all Ethiopian people. rely I appreciate your blessing idea. your longsuffering is very good but same times don’t let take the action. Ethiopia prosperity have your hand. we Ethiopians learn so many things from him. God bless our leader Dr Abiy and Ethiopian.

  • It will be erronous to believe that all the problem we have in Ethiopia just happend as a surprise or the current goverment lead by Abiye was recived to his office on a red carpet where everything was in order and working well. In the contrary, Abiye came to power and the country was already in a mess. The reason was a failed ethnic federal system that was dictated by a minority group called TPLF who controlled the politics and economy of the country.

  • After 45 years, we are poised to return back to “the monarchy of Emperor Haile Selassie I, the inviolable descendant of Solomon and Sheba, Elect of God, King of Kings, and the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah. To the archaic feudal land system which dominated nearly all aspects of the entire Ethiopian society. To the feudal aristocracy and the nascent national bourgeoisie which clung tenaciously to the imperial coat-tails with unusual political myopia to the very end.”

  • Pm. Abiy Ahmed knows how to win the Amharas( talking about a factious Utopia version of Ethiopia and praising the former kings is enough) and the Oromo( He always told them on puplic, ‘ You see, Oromo can also lead a country’. from this single quot he can win at least half of the Oromo). He went to Mekelle and preached about war heroes and about the importance of Tigray for Ethiopia with a quot, “Ethiopia without Tigray is a car without the engine” and won the heart of every Tigrian in a single day. and everyone across the country was cheering Abiy Ahmed.
    But after meeting and creating the so called peace with Eritrean President, He suddenly start bullying the Tigrian leaders, who go back to Mekelle peacefully. He publicly on national television start to give them different names, which the public get these names and bully every Tigrian with that name. He on television spoke, careful of new people around you which the public assume Tigrians and bully them. since then It was a misery for Tigrians in Ethiopia. this resulted in Tigrians losing trust in Abiy and feeling insecure of his relationship with president Isayas.

    In another hand, He plot a mission to eliminate an Amhara nationalist general ‘ Asamnew Tsige’ and two Tigrian generals Seare(the head of of the ENDF) and Gezae. which accuses the Amhara one for killing the two generals. which was impossible to imagine. In this case we can sea it in two cases. one is eliminating the possible opposition and second is creating animosity between Amhara and Tigrians which are both hugely Orthodox followers.

    I personally believe Abiy do not have clear goal or interest, he wants to fool himself with a success. he may assume leading a united Ethiopia as a success, if not, He may assume peace with Eritrea as a success, He may assume conflict with in Metekel as a success so that the Amharas will be emotionally attend to eliminate the TPLF, because he blame them for it, after all he may assume eliminating TPLF as a success. but if all of the above failed, he may assume dying as much as Orthodox followers as a success. He want to find an ugly success in his failures,
    He is incompetent leader after all, And he is just messing around fooling him self with daily little success and loosing overall things grossly, for him lying successfully today is more success than losing forever trust.

    If he was honest and Ethiopian lover, he wouldn’t have preached hate in Oromo against ‘others’, (the term he used) and he would have considered another option than war.

    Finally the TPLFs had also their own problems, they could have joined his call to create a Prosperity Party for the sake of friendship and coming to a common ground, at least they could have a chance to talk and come to a common ground. personally TPLFs are not good politicians after the death of the late PM Meles Zenawi, which I respect most, despite his failure to deal with Eritrean President( Dictator).

    But PM Abiy Ahmed believed that war with TPLF is war with Tigray people’ thats why he allowed Eritreans to loot, which is their payment for involving in war, and the Amharas who have deep hate against tigrians(they both undermine each other on heroism and cowardice and on cultural and historical credits and discredits) to himulate Tigrians and disown thier lands. Abiy Ahmed work hard to fume the animosity between the Amharas and the Tigrians, and Isayas Aforki Between the Tigrians and the Eritreans. Tigray has enjoyed a winner mentality over amharas and Eritreans for almost 30 years which resulted in this magnified animosity added up over decades.

    Good luck Ethiopia and East Africa, and Peace for Tigray people. May God be with you.

    • At least I found one person who sees the whole picture. In my view, TPLF were eliminated from Ethiopian political spectrum because they stood on big man’s way. They refused to embrace his prosperity gospel.

  • Hey René Lefort, let me ask you one question. Do you think that the USA to politically organize its federal states along, black, Hispanic, White etc? White party, black party. The answer is clearly no. Why do you want this for Ethiopia?

    Meles spearheaded constitution even does not explicitly allows an ethnic-based party, you know religion-based party in Ethiopia is not allowed by constitution, many countries still struggle to cross this line. So Ethiopia needs to ban any ethnic-based party in the constitution as many countries did, for example, Ghana. Meles kept the ethnicity agenda because it looked natural for them as they organize themselves against Mengistu Derge at that time, and later he found divide and rule works also well as he learned from Italy and others. Moreover, Meles used it as a tactic to annex large fertile land from Gondar and Wollo, and also created regional states of Benshagule and Gumuz and Gambela who have the same fertile lands and other resources (Evidence Sidam, Wolita, has 10 x population of the two states but no regional state status granted). Meles should have chosen another method, under United Ethiopia to settle and let grown the economy in Ethiopia’s territory. Unfortunately, he created a virtual ethnic-based territory and now Ethiopia is paying the price.

    Federal states may be reconfigured for economic reasons, but this is not the key matter. At this stage, what matters is that no party in Ethiopia allowed based on Ethnicity. What saved Ethiopia now is its people’s rejection of division, not the collective politicians except the last action of the Abiy government.

    Rene, may advise you to interview the rural people of Ethiopia (75% of them), on their view regarding living together in Ethiopia, not only eccentric, biased politicians and experts.

    Looking from this angle, the article critics of Abiy is unjustified and looks out of animosity, not ignorance, and perhaps the article target is different than what Ethiopia wants.

    Merry Christmas.

    • As a non Ethiopian :

      Thank you Kitaw
      Thank you Ayele
      Thank you Techawet
      Thank you Tike
      Thank you Henok.

      You all have so lovely names. Wonderful.

      “SUCH A STRANGE ARTICLE”

      Thank you so much TESFA.

      I stand firmly with those patriots here who defended their country and leader against a foreign writer who complete misses the religious, historical and cultural history and unity of Ethiopia independent of Abiy, but also in the sense that Abiy is part of that essence as all Ethiopians, and it is his understanding of this essence that he can call for a coming together, as Ethiopians many times before have been called to come together, from Biblical times to Adowa to Mussolini. The Ethiopians were always successful and their call was recorded in the biblical scriptures. Even the Muslim call was to seek refuge in a just and religious Ethiopia. It should be no far cry for Abiy to make the identical call, on the successful identical grounds as made on the past, but this time the call is made, not against foreign enemies of old, but for Ethiopians to come together as one. This is the best call that any leader in the world can ever make. Had Abiy not already won the Peace Prize, that call is sufficient to earn him such distinction. All this essense is foreign to Monsieur Lefort whose article is infested with too many faceless anonymous assumptions just to pick on Abiy. Too may flaws, weak thinking and infantile predictions corrode Lefort’s feeble attempt to discredit an African leader who outshines Macron in every noble endeavour.
      But there is one very important fact I wish to point out to my Ethiopian brothers and sisters, which should be noted well in Monsieur’s article as the underlying PSYCHOLICAL current: WAR! This is how Lefort’s article should be read, how he plays around all the concepts of religion, politics, history, ethnic division, crisis, destabilisation, to connect Abiy with bloody warfare and the disintegration of Ethiopia. This is how we must peruse Le Forte, otherwise we would not understand his intention. Why?
      View Monsieur Le Forte, not simply in the context of a foreign writer, but view him in the contest of a FRENCH writer, and all the assumptions and presumptions he insinuates on and against Ethiopia and Abiy, flip the script and apply it to France and French Colonialism and we would understand the sanguine psychology saturating Monsieur Le Forte’s strategy.
      Look at ALL the French conies in Africa and elsewhere and we will see that all of them suffer from a form of psychopathy because that is the nature of French colonialism, Burundi Rwanda Ivory Coast Chad Central African Republic Mali Congo Haiti Algeria, toute bagay, all of them have experienced the most horrendous forms of bloody trauma, endless wars, genocide, destabilisation, endless coups de etat (a French word). French colonialism is the only colonialism know to mankind that has inflicted psychological damage to its colonies than any other colonialism. There is a certain draconian vampirism inherent in French colonialism, a kind of frankenstein horror, vampire like blood letting Dracula taste for total eternal chaos in all their colonies (French or Belgian its the same). If we want to know about the psychological and genocidal impact of colonialism, all we need to do is study psychopatic French colonialism and the state of all its former colonies, a condition of pure unadulterated hell! Look at how, like a voracious hyena the French have their Jaws on the heart of the economy and central banks of FOURTEEN African colonies, the majority of which exist in perpetual war.
      Now my Ethiopian brothers and sisters, please remember that Ethiopia was NEVER colonised for all of its thousands of years of existence. Please remember, that Ethiopia knows politics religion culture history civilisation before France even existed or was thought of. Please remember that all Ethiopian King’s and Queens were wiser than all the rulers of Europe combined. My Ethiopian brothers and sisters, descendants of the greatest rulers on earth, that all the great prophets of God, and all the wise men of ancient looked to Ethiopia. Brothers and sisters, please know that Ethiopia is the country most mentioned by name in the Bible and other holy texts. Abiy knows all of this, and as an Ethiopian he is the inheritor like all Ethiopians of this glorious history, because God himself says that Ethiopia will stretch forth its hands to God (Psalm 68:31). The word of God and the words of his Prophets reached Ethiopia before it reached France, Europe, Africa or the rest of the world. But European missionaries reached Africa before they God the Bible so they colonised them. Ethiopians were among the first men and women on earth to know the Bible. Ethiopians are everywhere in the Bible and other holy texts. That is Ethiopia. That is the essense of Ethiopia. That is the essence of the divine oneness of Ethiopians known throughout all history without comparison. The word of God reached Abiy and still has not reached Monsieur Le Forte. Monsieur Le Forte will never understand Ethiopia, because he lacks the spirit.
      Do not let Ethiopia become a warlike bloody murderous psychopathic genocidal failed handicap state like the permanently traumatised French colonies. Please read, or reread Lefort’s article from the angle and context of French Frankenstein bloody psychooatic colonialism. All French colonies suffer from blood letting, brain damage and all types of psychological disorder. My great cultural historical civilised Ethiopian brothers and sisters, do not allow Monsieur Ke Firte to exorcise your souls like the French have done in their colonies, nor fall victim to the psychological warfare embedded in hus article to entice and incite Ethiopians, trumying to demonise your leader to make Ethiopia look like its bloody ex colonies in the rest of Africa.

      Go for Mendemer
      Don’t let the Vampire come to Ethiopia
      Ethiopia shall stretch Fort its hands to God.

      SUCH A STRANGE ARTICLE. I stand firmly with those patriots who defended their country and leader against a foreign writer who complete misses the religious, historical and cultural history and unity of Ethiopia independent of Abiy, but also in the sense that Abiy is part of that essence as all Ethiopians, and it is his understanding of this essence that he can call for a coming together, as Ethiopians many times before have been called to come together, from Biblical times to Adowa to Mussolini. The Ethiopians were always successful and their call was recorded in the biblical scriptures. Even the Muslim call was to seek refuge in a just and religious Ethiopia. It should be no far cry for Abiy to make the identical call, on the successful identical grounds as made on the past, but this time the call is made, not against foreign enemies of old, but for Ethiopians to come together as one. This is the best call that any leader in the world can ever make. Had Abiy not already won the Peace Prize, that call is sufficient to earn him such distinction.

      • Mr. Hamsom, thank you very much.
        You expressed what my Ethiopian fellows failed to say about their own country.
        Ethiopia existed before many countries of the world, including many of the European colonizers.

        Mr. René Lefort completely missed to understand Ethiopia and Ethiopians. As you said, he is a native of a country that destroyed the freedom of many nations and gheir free will. He has no right to criticize an Ethiopian or Ethiopia.
        Because he is ignorant of the Eghiopian history, culture, religion and our country’s unity.

        I strongly suggest that all foreigners should refrain from criticizing Ethiopia it’s current leader. Ethiopian will never ever be disintegrated. We want peace and not a war. Bug if we are forced to the corner, we know how to make such a holy war to protect our country and ourselves. Our distinguished leader Dr. Abiy and the Military have shown their Bravery against TPLF in 3 weeks. No country ever achieved sucb a victory through the unity of its people.

      • Like your concern. Hamsom
        Ethiopia was under colonial ethnic apartheid system under savage mercenaries – by all of them. And miraculously especially by Abiy and his buddies trickery they lost. And they’re mad coz they lost. Expected them to act as some generic religious nuts forgetting they’re Ethiopians.
        Read it from that perspective.

        You will see more of these sore losers reinforced until the end.

    • First, Happy New Year! The US has nothing to do with Ethiopia. From what I know, when their federation was built, no Italian immigrants regional state, or Irish or German or what you want existed.
      Second, I repeat: I am “in the spot” on average twice a year, since 2003, in a rural kebele of Amhara NOrth Shoa region. I suspect that very very few observers of Ethiopia have spent so much time “in the spot”.

  • René Lefort, here we come again! How do you determine “the mainstream interpretation” from your comfortable seat half a world away? Like some other politicised intellectuals, you try and present the war IN Tigray as an ideological conflict – centrism v confédéralism. It’s open secrète at least to most Ethiopians (as it should be to anybody based on interviews given by TPLF officials) that the war was initiated by TPLF after a series of first steps in confronting the federal government (from delegitimizing the party merger they initiated when they were on driving seat to de-recognizing the Federal government after holding unconstitutional election by any legal standards). What’s striking is that you present TPLF’s rule before 2018 as one led by “Democratic centralism” – how then was it transformed into a “federalist” force against centralism only when it lost power? For any lay and sundry Ethiopian who regularly follows the news, there is no illusion that the war is the ultimate result of a contest on who should call the shots at the centre – TPLF couldn’t just be content with governing Tigray despite the economic and other advantages it had. While both sides are to blame for not resolving their political differences civilly, that TPLF has pulled the first trigger (attacking an army that defended Tigray for over two decades), with a game plan that’s not clear to most commentators to date, has earned it culpability in the views of the majority of Ethiopians at home. I guarantee you that if government calls for demonstrations in support of its military response to TPLF’s belligerence, tens of millions will respond positively. But does this matter to foreign powers and experts? Does it help the plight of those affected by the war? So, while I understand your contempt to the PM for whatever reason (some say he doesn’t play the ingratiation of foreign experts that TPLF mastered), I find your analysis lopsided and a bit detached. But still, you are a foreigner writing on Ethiopia who will get our attention anyway.

    • If, as you say, the government would gather tens of millions in support of “its military response to TPLF’s belligerence”, I wonder why it didn’t it until now, at a time when all officials authorities are mobilised to get the strongest support for this war.

  • Very Insightful and informative piece. I completely agree with this observation. No wonders we have the Prosperity Party that conjures up with the Prosperity Gospel. This is a political and leadership sophistry in the highest order, not to mention it’s being an insult to the nature mult-faith and multi-nationaliities of the Ethiopian society.

  • Plain and simply-Abiy is the most incompetent and insecure head of state Ethiopia has ever seen in years. He lacks the emotional intelligence to lead a country with complicated problems. Problems have been there, but he exacerbated them exponentially. National dialogue is the only way out. He needs to understand that he is not capable of leading. Wishful thinking and hyping up constituents can only take to a certain point- which he lost most of the support he had when he came to power. Praying before he took the country down on its knees-which he almost did already.

  • Abiy is very knowledgeable about Ethiopian history, old and recent. I have heard him speak in detail about medieval and recent Ethiopian leaders and events.

    His critiques are not happy that he does not interpret history the way they do.

    His critiques, especially TPLF supports are angry and aghast that he does not follow their grievance narrative.
    Mainly, he does not see Amhara people are an enemy nation, and he sees no reason why Amharas and Oromos can’t be family-like his own family.

    • A leader is the one who should understand the source of grievances and then try to solve them through dialogue and reconciliation. Grievances may arise from wrong understanding of the matter and it is up to the leader to correct them. Abiy did not do that either purposely or due to lack of basic knowledge of the issue. Abiy is a person who obviously wants everyone to ingratiate him. He never do things according to his speech. What he does is usually the opposite of what he speaks. He talks about love but he actually is full of hatred. He speaks about peace but he is usually involved in waging war and killing personalities that he thinks are threats to his power. He said to kill is cowardice but he did not spend a single night without killing! He is pretender!

  • Such a strange article.

    Abiye is asking Ethiopians, “to medemer,” to come together in the spirit of love and peace.

    This is a simple message but it is a profound message because we can not have a peaceful country if there is no good will between the various nations/nationalities.

    You said he refuses to “inclusive national dialogue”? Really?

    Has he not invited every single opposition group into the country for dialogue? Is he stopping Ethiopian oppostion leaders
    from talking to each other? The leaders do want to.

    Abiye’s problem is clear, he simply does not understand Ethiopians and our capability to hate each other. He is not like the clever, cynical Marxist Leninist Meles Zenawi

    Abiye is too much of an idealist, one who believes in reconciliation and togetherness (medemer). There is also a naiveté there that works against him. He could have been our Mandela.

    You mention his pentacostal religion and try to define him by that. Do you know that right wing Orthodox Christians hold his religion against him? You are (unintentionally I hope) echoing their bigotry.

    How about his Muslim and Orthodox Christian background? His Jimma background? All these have influenced him, especially his Jimma roots. The Jimma Oromos are one of the most inclusive people in Ethiopia.

    I predict he will resign, he is too decent for Ethiopian politics.

    What I am afraid off is that if something happens to him, it is possible Oromos could blame Amharas and perceive an Amhara power grab.

    Then we would a situation as happened in Rwanda situation when their president was killed when his plane was shot down.

  • I read your article with mixed feeling as it focuses only one player in Ethiopia’s change. The truth is such that the Tigrayan dominated regime caused a huge division between the various ethnic groups as The Amhara ethnic being the suppressor and the sole cause of Ethiopian hegemony. This has caused a much feared civil war between ethnic groups which is weakening Abiy’s optimism on his intended journey towards prosperity by pulling him apart in many directions. His only option is. Ow to create a democratic central government with ideology at the center instead of religion or ethnicism. First though he must rid of the culprit constitution !

  • I agree with the notion that Abiy lacks political and historical knowledge. He is a very inexperienced and insecure official. I am sad to see that Ethiopia that has been growing economically is being demolished. The EPRF with all its shortcomings has done a lot more for the country than Abiy has. The fact that he is killing the Tigrayans silently with the help of the Eritrean thug, Isaias Afewerki, will weaken the country and make the country extremely unattractive for investors. Tourism is dead for the foreseeable future. But more than anything the ethnic cleansing of the Tigray people and the genocide of Tigray is very concering.

    • Perfectly analyzed Rene! Abiy is very delusional who cannot understand the difference between reality vs fiction. The sad thing is he has many Pentecostal followers marching behind him and looting the country. He believes killing as many opposition figures will silence the majority revolt against him. He thinks he is invincible and given to the country by some supernatural force. He is a child who is trapped in adult body.

      • Hey !When weighed from the reality, the reverse is obnectively true.Mary is in complete delusion about the situation in Ethiopia;you never saw what the country and its people are like.All are in crippling destitution and don’t have the resources to obtain their daily bread and water.The inflation and ever increasing food prices coupled with the infestation of the land by bugs had destroyed the economy.There is no distinction in ethnicity as you wish to believe as the poverty level is devastating to all the social fabrics and political outlooks of the youth in Ethiopia.You would to come back to reality and sanitize your viewpoints and assist the country and its population to bring food and civilization rather than tearing your own birth country like Syria or the neighboring Yemen.Yhere are no values in what you would like to pursue as it is not constructive.The PM is the best match for the situation and many Ethoopians of all trades have firm believe in his directions;and if you’re envious of his success you wouldn’t be his fan.He is a winner of the PRIZE,the Winner of the TPLF war in Tigray,the Winner in the GERD Dam and will also win in the looming economic problems of the country.You need to change your viewpoints and your relationship with country fast and stay mainstream.

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