Viewpoint

Dear Abiy, please resign—a plea from a fellow Ethiopian evangelical

You have prioritized your own power over our country’s peace. It is time to step down.  

Dear Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (PhD),

I would like to commence my letter with a salutation in the name of Jesus Christ.

I am Naol Befkadu, a lecturer at one of the oldest Baptist theological colleges in Ethiopia and a PhD candidate in evangelical leadership. I am moved to write this letter to you based on my Christian moral convictions and the heavy burden on my heart after following your leadership style over the years. Thus, I have written this open letter to you as a fellow evangelical brother and a theologian. 

As you are well aware, theology is the study of the doctrine of God. Christian theology holds the Holy Bible up as the supreme authority on the study of the attributes of God. 

A theologian’s job is not only to explore doctrines, but also to make theology palatable and applicable in daily life by contextualizing academic theology in relation to the contemporary matters of a society. This is also sometimes called public theology. For the most part, this is what I have been trying to do since 2016 as a minister of the gospel, world mission student, and theology lecturer. 

Today, I present my letter to you with a heavy heart regarding the fate of this country and the destructive role played by your leadership. 

Glorious ascension

Dear PM Abiy, all Ethiopians have a vivid memory of what took place on 2 April 2018. We witnessed a miracle unfolding before our eyes when a charismatic evangelical politician was appointed to the prime minister position. Churches and mosques alike were filled with psalms of joy. From north to south and from east to west, your ascension to power brought glory to God almighty, who visited the people. 

Prior to that day, and during the protests across the country, I wrote a piece in Amharic—titled “What Would Jesus Not Do? (Regarding the current state of the country)”—where I encouraged all Christians to be vigilant about their country and avoid violent means to settle disagreements. 

While you were implementing much-needed reforms, I wrote a piece that praised your administration titled “Does PM Abiy’s Religion Matter?” in response to Tom Gardner’s article in The Economist that characterized your administration as a Pentecostal-charismatic one. I presented the values your administration brought to the political table as a result of your Christian convictions. Your rise was a proud moment for all of us Protestants, who for most of our history have been persecuted in this country. 

A year after you came to power, I penned another article, titled “PM Abiy’s 365 Days in Office: A Christian Perspective.” I celebrated the achievements during your first year as PM and tried to explain them through the lens of an evangelical Christian. I admired your decisions to release prisoners, reconcile with Eritrea, and bring the two synods of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church together. 

As the job of a public theologian is to emphasize the moral principles that are relevant to society, I celebrated your activities based on the moral framework that you used to bring the country together. That truly was amazing and cannot be forgotten.

The flip side

Even though I admired your moral leadership, there were certain elements of your approach that made me anticipate wrongful actions on your part. In a paper for my Master’s degree in 2018, I wrote about the dangerous side of charismatic leadership, inspired in part by your leadership. Your populist actions made me pause and think again before offering so many superlatives. 

These suspicious actions became even more evident after you started surrounding yourself with only those who accept your ideologies. Competing political figures such as Dr. Lemma Megersa were sidelined. Even during these times, my faith convinced me to stay in favor of your administration because your sermons of love and unity never contradicted your actions. You walked what you talked for the most part, even though there were shortcomings. 

As time progressed, you gave Ethiopian evangelicals a great present by pressuring them to be united in order to get recognition as a legally constituted body. I endorsed this move as way to combat the virus of factionalism that divides protestant theologians and denominations. Beyond supporting this proposal, I even suggested that ecumenical unity could potentially save the fate of this nation. I argued in my article “Can Ecumenism Save Ethiopia?” for the grand unity of churches by following your philosophy of medemer

However, my theologian friends criticized me, saying, “Abiy is playing politics.” 

I did not listen to them. 

Twist and a plea

I never thought things would get so twisted within such a short period of time. In the second year of your administration, the values I saw that initially convinced me to defend you as a theologian began to fade away and another character, this time a villain, started to emerge. Love was still on your lips, but your actions were increasingly driven by egomania.

When everything you had been saying was replaced by the opposite actions, I began to doubt the authenticity of everything that you were preaching about. Politically speaking, you came to embody the prototypical Machiavellian leader. For a year and half, I stayed silent in disbelief. 

After following all of your speeches and actions, as well as reflecting through prayer, I have changed my mind and must denounce your administration. I have found you to be morally unfit and unqualified to be a leader of 110 million people. Hence, it is my moral and theological duty to call you out. Dear PM Abiy Ahmed, I am now asking for you to resign from your post.

Below, I enumerate six factors that led me to reach this conclusion. 

  1. The political infiltration of the Ethiopian Gospel Believers Churches’ Council

Dear PM Abiy, of all your actions, the one I supported most was the establishment of the Ethiopian Gospel Believers Churches’ Council. Even though many wise people voiced reservations, I supported this initiative because I believed in the role that the council plays not only in theological consensus and dialogue among evangelicals, but also in national unity. I continue to believe in the old maxim that ‘a divided church cannot unify a divided country.’

Over time, however, the function of the council became something that I failed to anticipate. The leader of the council, Prof. Iyasu Elias, emerged from behind the curtain to dress himself as a Prosperity Party member and candidate. To this day, a political person leads the highest evangelical body in Ethiopia. 

While it is not antithetical to our belief system for a Christian to be involved in political matters, a church leader should refrain from taking sides in politics. Although some Muslim and Orthodox leaders participated in the national election, most of them—including your own advisor, Daniel Kibret—remained independent from any political party. 

However, the leader of the evangelical council sided with you by joining your newly formed Prosperity Party. The ramifications of this decision were so great that, the moment this news came, I was among many church leaders who called for the council president to resign. There was, ultimately, no response. 

Dear PM Abiy, you very much understand the necessity of the separation of church and state in order to avoid both the creation of a state religion and the unwanted intervention of the state in religious matters. While the former has been displaced by secularism since 1974, the latter still occurred under the EPRDF government. 

Church leaders are silenced by the government and forbidden from using their prophetic voices to point out the misbehavior of officials. I have witnessed this with my own eyes during your administration. The council has been so heavily infiltrated and controlled by your political beliefs and party ideology that criticizing you has come to be seen to be an anti-protestant stance.  

In a country where people like Rev. Gudina Tumsa sacrificed their life because of their prophetic voice against the dictatorial Derg regime, now the church has become a slave to the ideology of a politician. You can order the execution of anyone you want and no religious leader is going to speak against you. 

You have thus triumphed in silencing and controlling God’s mouth on earth that is the church of Jesus Christ. You have transformed the church from being the voice to the voiceless and the oppressed into a megaphone for your personality-driven administration. ‘Prophets’ of the day warn their members from speaking against the ‘anointed of God’, in reference to you. Pastors who claim to be your colleagues openly declare on their platforms that you are the God-sent messiah to help Ethiopia prosper. 

Church leaders will not criticize any of your actions. They will not call out your lack of moral leadership. They are silenced by your populism and the infiltration of the council. At best, they are waiting and campaigning for an earthly Protestant-led messianic kingdom led by you. The church, having set aside its traditional and scriptural tasks, is busy echoing your rhetoric.

Dear PM Abiy, while your followers may ascribe to your dictatorial ideals and power-driven activities, the church of Jesus Christ cannot be silenced for any Protestant-imperialist ambition. Evangelicals are not cannon fodder for your imperial agenda. We will not be agents of your political ambitions. 

Your time in power has not favored the church and has instead silenced it into supporting your war. You have forced the church of Jesus Christ to align with you in your politically motivated war. The church has been used to defend the war and church leaders have been prevented from speaking out against the humanitarian disaster that has been going on for eleven months now. 

If Rev. Gudina Tumsa were still alive today, he would say that you have abused the church of Jesus Christ for your political gain and, like me, would ask that you step down from power.

  1. The Tigray war and the humanitarian disaster

Dear PM Abiy, the very philosophy of yours that captured the heart of Ethiopians, evangelicals, and non-evangelicals alike is medemer. You have explained medemer to mean a synergy that appreciates togetherness, brotherhood, and unity while also respecting individual as well as group differences. Your medemer philosophy was in congruence with the biblical model of love, particularly as described in Johannine theology. 

In dedication to this biblically-based principle, you went on to encourage an informal alliance known as Oro-mara. It is now clear that, in doing so, your intension was not to unite Ethiopia’s two largest nations, but rather to oust and antagonize the Tigray minority. This informal alliance deviated from the principle of togetherness and represented a strategic alliance against Tigrayans, leading them to suspect and anticipate inevitable conflict in the country. 

While it is very much true that Tigray leaders have also been power-hungry and antagonistic towards your rule, your treatment of the difference between you and the TPLF was not in line with the principles you claimed to follow. Rather than promoting love, you chose to side with a vengeful foreign force. 

After months of rising tensions, Tigray’s leaders started the war by attacking the Northern Command on 3 November 2020, which they claimed was anticipatory and thus in self-defense. Your government launched a full-scale military intervention that is still costing countless lives every day. While the federal military response to the attack on the Northern Command was arguably justified according to the just war theory of St. Augustine of Hippo, inviting a vengeful force, Eritrea—whose soldiers have committed unspeakable human rights violations against Tigrayan women and girls—was a grave mistake. 

Dear PM Abiy, under your watch we have been witnessing unspeakable horrors committed by the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies, along with Amhara militias, against Tigrayans. The evils committed by the TPLF when in power from 1991 to 2018 and by the Tigray forces since this war began in November 2020 do not in any way justify the rape of Tigrayan mothers by the soldiers of your government. 

No matter how you compare yourself with the TPLF in order to look good by comparison, the evil that was committed by forces under your command and your allies cannot be justified. You have spoken of love but contributed—together with the TPLF and other political forces—in planting seeds of hatred between the people of Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia, and also between Tigrayans and Eritreans. 

This lack of moral leadership needs to be called out by fellow evangelicals. That is why I am asking you to step down from your post.

  1. The shrinking political space and cycle of violence

Dear PM Abiy, of all the positive things you did in 2018, the most cherished was the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. It was Jesus Christ who taught us to liberate those imprisoned unjustly (Luke 4:18). 

Taking this messianic job, you acted with complete obedience in setting the prisoners of conscience free. Tens of thousands of prisoners were released partly because of your initiative. High-profile political prisoners such as Andargachew Tsege were among those set free mainly because of you. 

However, this freedom was not lasting. As your authoritarian side started to dominate over the values of medemer, prisons started to fill with people who were accused of crimes based on weak evidence and who may only have been guilty of opposing you. This became even more evident after the assassination of the beloved Hachalu Hundeessa, an Oromo musician. Many of the prisons in Oromia overflowed with young men and women who were arrested en masse by police from the streets. Some evangelicals and church leaders were also taken to prison because they happened to be by the roadside in the aftermath of Hachalu’s assassination. 

The declarations you made after Hachalu’s death in a high-ranking meeting that aired on state television conflicted with your supposed moral leadership. You openly declared that no one is going to shake your position “no matter how many people die.” You then made a highly questionable speech in which you said, “if you want to fight, we will show you in cities or in jungle!” Your incendiary statements and actions caused many Oromo youth to return to the bush. There are now more insurgents in Oromia than there was a year or two ago. This is a heartbreaking reality!

Dear PM Abiy, you have gone so far as to say that you would rather sacrifice many people than give up your position. You have openly suggested that the youth go to the jungle and conduct an armed struggle rather than protest in the city. These reckless suggestions have cost the country thousands of souls. Armed struggle has become rampant in every corner of the country. There is, for instance, a full-blown war in Western and Southern Oromia. 

Dear PM Abiy, you have failed to live by the principles you once espoused. You have failed to convince the youth to come back from the bush. You have failed to stop the cycle of violence that has taken many lives. For this reason and others, the best thing you can do for the people of Ethiopia is to resign.

  1. Refusal for a peaceful resolution of conflicts

The character of the children of God is to be peacemakers. As Jesus said, “blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called children of God.” Dear PM Abiy, we saw this peace-making obedience of yours when you offered a hand of reconciliation to our neighbor, Eritrea. You blew down the wall of hatred and built up a bridge of love between the two countries. 

In recognition of your peace-making efforts, the Nobel Committee awarded you with their Peace Prize in 2019. When you won and made your speech in Oslo, I cannot describe the smile that you put on the face of children of God who identify with a peacemaker like you. 

Even though this award came with a heavy responsibility for you, many Ethiopians believed that it represented a monumental achievement similar to the city of refugees in the Old Testament where people were sheltered and vengeance was neutralized. As a theologian, however, I believed that your supreme allegiance was not to be to the Nobel Peace Prize, but rather to the word of Jesus. 

Contrary to my assumptions, the words peace and reconciliation are rarely spoken or applied by you and your government. Under your rule, peacemaking has been redefined as siding with the opposition. Advocating for national consensus has become synonymous with challenging for your position. Your avoidance of peace-making does not align with the moral leadership you once claimed to follow.

When the same Western countries that awarded you the Nobel Peace Prize asked for a ceasefire and political solutions to the ongoing Tigray war, you played the sovereignty card and avoided discussing with any ‘enemy’, going so far as to label the TPLF and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) as terrorist groups. For this reason, the country is in a protracted (and perhaps proxy) war that is unlikely to end soon.

Dear PM Abiy, you have avoided the peace-making role of the children of God. Based on the moral principles you expressed, you should have sacrificed your political ambitions and position for the sake of the millions of lives at stake. No peace comes without altruistic sacrifice. Rather than teaming up with Eritrean forces to attack Tigray and Oromia, you should have humbled yourself and tried to bring peace through dialogue and reconciliation. Such a sacrifice is comparable to what you did in 2018, when you broke the 20-year standoff with Eritrea by offering an outstretched hand to Isaias Afewerki. 

Your refusal to play a role as peace-maker and inability to reconcile Ethiopia’s many divisions is another reason why the best thing that you can do for the country at this moment is to step down.

  1. Romance with the Eritrean regime and growing dictatorial tendencies

Dear PM Abiy, even though my support for you and your administration was unwavering during your first year and half in power, I have always kept an eye on the Eritrean president and your relationship with him. Many Ethiopians celebrated the reconciliation between the two countries. The reconciliation also brought light to many of our Eritrean brothers and sisters. Eritreans have become our neighbors and they have found it easy to settle in cities across Ethiopia. There are now nearly equal numbers of Tigrigna and Afaan Oromoo speakers within evangelical congregations in Addis Ababa.

Our Eritrean neighbors and friends did not come to Ethiopia only because they liked Ethiopia. Ethiopia became a haven for Eritrean migrants who otherwise would have travelled to Europe through Libya. It is common to hear on the news of our Eritrean brothers and sisters drowning in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to cross to Italy. They make this sacrifice and choose Ethiopia as a safe haven because the government of Eritrea is violating their human and democratic rights.

When Isaias Afworki arrived in Addis Ababa for the first time in 20 years, I went to welcome him with a banner that read, “Free Evangelical Prisoners in Eritrea.” The Isaias administration has imprisoned and tortured many pastors and outlawed Pentecostalism from their land. Dear PM Abiy, if you were an Eritrean with Pentecostal background, you would have been jailed long ago. Not only Pentecostals, but also many Muslim and Orthodox clerics are behind bars in Eritrea for speaking up against the tyrant. 

Nevertheless, you have given the warmest welcome to this dictator with unnecessary public displays that diminished the value of justice. It soon became clear that what was going on between you two was not really love, but rather a shared desire for vengeance that was directed against the Tigrayan people. While we expected you to change the behavior of Isaias, who has openly declared that Eritrea does not need democracy, you instead started imitating his dictatorial actions. 

Unlike Isaias, you did not shut down the churches. Rather, your allies infiltrated the church administration and controlled their institutions. Unlike Isaias, you do not openly say that “Ethiopia does not need democracy” but you ran in the election virtually uncontested by imprisoning politicians and sidelining opposition parties. As a result, your party claimed to have won 96 percent of the seats in parliament. Like Isaias, you have surrounded yourself with those who will not, or cannot, criticize you. 

I have always stood against Eritrea’s dictatorial regime. I had anticipated that in due time I might stand against yours, PM Abiy. Now, as a theologian with a prophetic voice, I refuse to be silenced or intimidated by your dictatorial actions. I hereby request your removal from the power. 

  1. Fading accountability and compromising truth 

Of the many deeds that have made me give up on your administration and ask for your resignation, the most compelling one is your (mis)treatment of truth. It is often said that truth is a cheap commodity in politics. However, it is not treated as such in Ethiopian religious circles. Truth is an absolute entity that is defined by God’s universal and supreme moral laws. 

Many religious leaders in Ethiopia believed that your administration would maintain a high standard of truth based on strict moral principles, rather than treating it as a cheap commodity to be bought and sold. This was our expectation when you repeatedly said, “truth is by our side”. Contrary to those expectations, under your administration truth has been treated as a prostitute, to use the words of Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation. 

It is impossible to count all of the lies that you and your administration have told to the media. Some of the game-changing lies, particularly those told by you, are damaging and contradictory to the moral leadership that you professed to be following. Most notably, you maintained for months that Eritrean soldiers were not involved in Tigray, you initially said that no civilian in Tigray had been injured in the war, you recently argued that there is no hunger in Tigray and you claimed to have begged opposition parties to participate in the national election, but that they refused. 

Dear PM Abiy, those statements alone proved to me how much your leadership fails in operating based on truth.  Such statements have led me to believe that you do not care if your statements are true, so long as your lies manage to keep the public quiet. 

This treatment of truth undermines the definition of truth as a liberator (John 8:32) and as the embodiment of Christ himself (John 14:6). While truth liberates, lies cripple a society. The Devil is the father of lies and Christ is the embodiment of truth. Although the pressures of your profession often understandably force you to lie, you should not make truth a cheap commodity to be treated as you like. 

Lies never liberate anyone. Lies will not bring lasting peace and stability in Ethiopia. If you think they will, and keep on lying, you will make your ending worse than it could be. The best thing to do, then, is to be truthful and follow your religious convictions. Because of the failure of your moral leadership, many have lost their lives and many are paying huge price. That is why I am asking you to resign. 

In conclusion, this is a letter from your brother in Christ, who found his moral imperatives to be stronger than what the media is saying. Churches and mosques or your cabinet will not tell you about your failings of moral leadership. While the job of a theologian is to be a prophetic voice, as I am doing here, it is up to politicians to find paths out of this conflict. Thus, the best thing you can do at this time is to step down gracefully and, in doing so, leave space for a ceasefire and national dialogue. 

Sincerely,

Naol Befkadu

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Main Photo: Abiy giving speech at the inauguration of his book ‘Medemer’, PMO, 20 October 2020.

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About the author

Naol Befkadu

Naol is a theologian and medical doctor who is pursuing his PhD in Leadership from Vision International University. He has authored several books, most recently ‘Yaanni Koo: A Reflection on Aspects and Attitudes towards Love; the Ethiopian Context’. Follow him on Twitter @DrNaolBK

48 Comments

  • Dear Naol.
    Before I go on refuting your point of argument and call for the Prime Minister resignation, let me point you to some Bible verses in order to remind you that you are a pretender not an active, obedient and faithful Christian, even a theologian.
    (1) 2 John 1:9-10 (KJV) Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
    Here the so called theologian, Naol disobeyed Jesus’s teaching that says, ‘1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. {ordained: or, ordered} 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.’ (Romans 13:1-6 KJV)
    (2) Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. {to…: or, to edify profitably}. Here again he obeyed this command by calling the Prime Minister morally unfit to rule the people.
    (3) Denying this Bible teaching makes him false prophets or false teachers. 2Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. {pernicious ways: or, lascivious ways, as some copies read}
    If he is truly a theologian he would have been doing what Jesus Christ told Apostle Peter John 21:15-18 (KJV), ‘15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.’
    Personally, I believe that the Prime Minister is God’s answer for the nation that was hit by ununderstood tyrant from multi directions for the past 30 years. God’s intention for him to serve as the country Prime Minister was shown to a godly woman and what has been said matched what is on the ground.
    In conclusion your allegations are baseless and should not be taken for granted as foundation for call for the Prime Minister stepping down. All your argument is to let the sleeping dogs lie which is not preferred in this critical time. You seem to address the media in order to expose your bare theology instruction to the secular world which you shouldn’t do with the honored country Prime Minister.
    Here are the actions that talks a lot about the Prime Minister staying in the power.
    1. Calling back all armed political parties who are in foreign countries to come and struggle peacefully for the wellbeing of people of Ethiopia. And made them to share seats in the government which was not witnessed during EPDRF time.
    2. He pardoned the prisoners and had many released from national and neighboring countries jails.
    3. He restored the ruined relationship with Eritrea and build positive relationship with other countries.
    4. He has will for super action like the other patriot Ethiopians and had the GERD resumed construction. He had innovated Palace and had the Unity Park, Entoto Park, Meskel Square made and even has dream to make Ethiopia to be independent and middle economic country in a few years.
    5. Made Ethiopian to be the fourth country in Africa with the tallest building with 198 m (650 ft) with 46 floors
    6. Promote the oneness of religious without taking side with religion and used the word Creator instead of God or Allah while respecting each rights for religion.
    7. Made Ethiopia proud by sending eyes in the sky, ERSS-Satellite
    8. Restored the ruined true color of Ethiopia and Addis Ababa and now we can see all the beautiful roads and places around Addis.
    9. And many more…

    • Wow, well written. As Eritrean, I can write same thing about Isias Afewerki, the first 5 years of his leader was amazing, everyone was happy and people give him too much credit to him only, that it get to his head. Early 90’s Isias was super star in Eritrea, everybody think him as God chosen leader to the country. But this get to his head, He began to put aside his colleagues who are critical of him or those he felt could be his contenders, and circled himself with Yes men. But people keep supporting him and his lies of devastating border war with Ethiopia which was complete disaster to Eritrea. Then he become mad man without any control, every Eritrean realized that later but it was too late, he rule by iron fist and now creating more problem to Eritrea by intervening Ethiopian affairs. I see similarity between Isias and Abi, nobody can lie they do remarkable things at the beginning for their leadership to their respective people, then praise get to their head. Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” From the comment, I can see people still make excuse to Abi, still can’t see his major flow that create the problem. Saying that I am not saying TPLF is in good side, as Eritrean, who suffered by TPLF evil deeds, I understand they are also one of the main problem, but you can not also deny the major mistakes Abi have done that lead to this complete disaster. There is one comment, that say how can we put all the blame on him, believe me, leaders like Isias and Abi love to master mind every detail of their country affair. They get this sense that they know it all and everybody is need to follow, they get this when they get so much praise. Ethiopia have achieved a lot in past decade, it sad to see backward in the progress made, I had same feeling about Eritrea, early 90’s Eritrea was achieving a lot, but our mad leader completely destroyed it and more.

  • Dear Alemgena, Abiy and his team did not free anyone, even themselves, from the yoke of the TPLF. The reverse is true. The struggle of the people of Ethiopia freed Abiy and his team from the TPLF whom they willingly served for decades. Unfortunately, now Abiy is tirelessly working to put Ethiopians under another yoke, the OLF. OLF is in the palace and OLF is in the wilderness killing innocent people simply because they are Amharas. That’s why Abiy never gives attention to plea of those who are being brutal massacred day after day since he took office. As saying goes, “አውቆ የተኛ ቢጠሩት አይሰማም”.

  • I read the article
    Although the article have some grain of truths it is just focuses on one person and do not put into consideration the many factors/ the root cause that lead to abiy and the country to this current situation.

    Although it mentions Ertrea/Isayas so many times as a negative part it didn’t mention Tplf even once as a problem although Tplf is the one who divided the country in ethnic lines and put us in this kind of misery.
    ( it is a short time memory that people who oposes Isayas government and the separation of ertrea and stood against making ethiopia being land locked were imprisoned , killed and leave the country by Meles Tplf government.

    He criticized the previous Ethiopians rules before Tplf as evil but didn’t mention Tplf even once as nagative assuming it is the perfect rule than those before it and after it,

    The article never mention abiy is the result & the creation of the previous Tplf rule and uses Their constitution and structure to do all this killing and atrocities on innocents.
    I believe abiy is full of lie- a pathetic lier who is taking the country to distraction using the same constitution and structure Tplf set for him. Tplf was a minority Tigray rule. Abiy’s / Olf is a majority oromo rule- I see no difference between them. They are just fighting for power at the expense of the people. That is the TRUTH- ::

    Although I can say a lot I I don’t want to spend much time on it. The article is very shallow , one sided and simplistic to say the least.

    Although the person mention himself as evangelical it seems he think the removal of one person resolve the country’s problem and do not give solution and took God out of the picture.

    I belive the county’s problem is not that simple instead it is so complicated now and the only hope now is God’s interruption to save us 🙏💫

  • I wanted to read most of the comments before posting my point of view on this article and I could summarize there are three categories of people in Ethiopian politics today who is spinning the country with its 120 million people in it.
    The leftist – the group of people who did very well before Derge (mengestu’s time) but not bad during as they kept the “One Ethiopia” doctrine and not so well after TPLF came to power. The strong believers of “One Ethiopia” which is synonym (for them) of (one religion and one ethnicity – language) ever-one else is just there as (sub-ordinate, migrant, werari, banda)
    The righties – Those who believe in federal system and totally ignored individual’s rights within the states and territories. – TPLF started the concept of “KILIL” in a rushed way and missed a lot of opportunity to make states (“kilil”) inclusive.
    The Center – who bounce back and forth between the two (leftist and rightist) per the politics of the day and make sure they are totally aligned with the rhetoric of the day and change the next day always aligning themselves with the power of the day.

    Now, the following points suits your point of view if you are a leftist
    1. You glorify one-Ethiopia (Dar-dembar, enat-hagar, ya shi amat tarik ) but not too fussed about the people.
    2. You always compare Ethiopia to what it was like before the TPLF came into power.
    3. You think Ethiopia was a wonderful country where everyone was living in harmony until TPLF came and change the demography.
    4. You Love King Haile Selassie and wishes his kids could have ruled Ethiopia better.
    5. You think ‘Mengestu’ was a heroic leader even if he fled to Zimbabwe when things get tougher.
    6. You rather see ‘Mengestu’ come back to power than to see the country divided into difference ethnicity at any cost.
    7. When it comes to Ethiopa (Enat hagar) there is no limit to what should be done to maintain the unity of the country (contrary to individuals human rights)
    8. You focus a lot about minorities who live in different ‘kilis’
    9. You think minorities in Ethiopia should stand in unite and protect the country even if it’s against their ethnical identity.
    10. In your ‘Kilil’ minorities have full rights and if you were to govern the federal system you would like to replicate that across the country – one identity, one nationalism (similar to what was in King Halesilase’s time)

    Now, the following points suits your conversation if you are a righties
    1. Talks about the current constitutional as if it’s a Quran / Bible sent from God.
    2. Your focus is your killil but not so about Ethiopia
    3. “One Ethiopia” is synonym to operation / slavery and misery
    4. You always wonder about the beautiful city/country your great grandfathers/mothers used to tell you about before the north forced Ethiopia and its identity on them.
    5. Your focus is your ethnicity/ethno federal demography and wants it to remain like that.
    6. Your ethnicity is the most important people in the world and others you just deal with
    7. You don’t really thing too much about the different ethnicity of the people in your demography (other than your own)
    8. You think all people who came to your kilil came to invade (their ancestors) and should go back to their own kilil ethnicity.
    9. You think King Heileselase and the kings before him are the reason for the misery of your people.
    10. You think your ethnicity (ethinical people) have been forcefully moved out of their ancestors’ land and forced to migrate within Ethiopia / outside

  • It is a brilliant article. I agree with all the facts indicated. The PM is not the same person that we observed at the beginning. We have witnessed more chaos and bloodshed in the country than in anytime in its recent history. However, I am just wondering why the writer did not mention about the agony of the Amhara people, the killing fields of Oromia where Amharas are being slaughtered on daily basis. This omission is not excusable and can raise questions about the moral integrity of the writer himself. I would very much like to hear from the writer.

  • Mr Naol, your article is simply biased. Eritreans are involved after invitation of TPLF by launching attacks on them. We are fighting for the sovereignty of our country Ethiopia. Dr. Abiy is the wise and rational leader so far we have seen through generations.
    Calling him out for resignation is simply arrogance which undermines the will of millions of Ethiopians. I call upon you to stay away from our leader, PM Abiy. I sense your article as written by an OLF Evangelist.

  • Dear Naol,
    This is well articulated a piece of letter I liked the most. I am so impressed that God still has his remnant in this generation who are not afraid to speak against separation and cruelty going on. I believe you’ve echoed what is running in the heart of most people demanding love, peace and reconciliation. Thank you very much and please keep this good work you’ve started.

  • Dear Naol,
    I am sorry to hear that you are no more supporting Abiy Ahmed and his leadership and you are claiming your stand is an Evangelical or Theological. But, unfortunately you are voicing for the violent groups who are opponents of Abiy Ahmed and making trouble for his leadership. Some of the facts you mentioned are his weaknesses or shortcomings which many of us are concerned. However, at this critical time Abiy must lead the country because he is the one who has been elected by the people. Please don’t mix politics with religion, Abiy is better than any regime in Ethiopia just because of his wise leadership. Lastly, I want to show you the history of Israel as it is synonymous to that of Ethiopia. You and your fellow people who have similar hatred or miss informers must repent rather than jocking. Abiy Ahmed must lead.

    • Dear Tsegaab, it has been years and what we have experienced under his leadership is worse than it was before he came to his current position. Thousands of lives were lost in putting down a dictatorial government led by TPLF party by then, which paved way for PM Abiy to lead a country until a citizen voted leader would emerge by paving a way for political parties and different ideologies just as he had been doing the first year (more or less) of his administration. Why must he lead when we are suffering as a nation for his lack of leadership skills and as an evangelical when the name of our God is insulted because of him everywhere? If you think he is the only one who can sustain our country in one piece then you no longer believe in the almighty God. God requires all of us to be just and loving, and when you see those things broken under his rule please don’t turn your back on those who suffer by their absence.

    • Ohh What a dum argument!! Had you been quite would have been counted as wisdom brother. Our brother Naol had specified it all well and noted it precisely. What is expected from Aby right now is to step down as soon as possible and save thousands of lives. Then he can be lead to the ICC. Nothing more nothing less.

  • Dr. Naod, it is not a good thing to cover political bias with church beliefs. After all, we voters elected him and i dont think its fair to pose ur opinion on us. Second, as a christian thinker it is acceptable to counsel and denounce mistakes. But such a person needs to have a just conscious nind. Why you didnt put this energy in rebuking others that introduced hate and separation?

    • It is good Letter (or Article).
      It is clear that PM A.A. is weakening the great Ethiopia, as we knew it three or four years back.
      How he make peace with an enemy but cannot make peace with his own people ?
      Where are those individuals whom were the reason he is now PM? Jawhar, Megersa, Haschallaw, Oromo opposition leaders , ….
      Either killed, prisoned,or silenced

  • Dr. Naol Befkadu – you are a medical doctor and a theologian, after all. And as such, I applaud your humanity and sense of moral obligation to raise your voice in the face of all the cruelty and atrocities committed against Tigray people; and the 0verall condition Ethiopia has descended into. What was hoped for with Abiy as a promising start 3 years ago, has instead turned the country into a fractured nation; the carnage, the siege, and an induced famine as a weapon, turning Ethiopia into another horror story in the Horn of Africa. At one time, a peaceful Ethiopia was seen as the anchor in the Horn.

  • Hello Naol !

    1. I have got you right man.
    As you have said, you are pursuing your ” PhD in Leadership” , and as I see you are intending to use this article you posted as reference /input in your “thesis” , to demonstrate to your university’s jury when you make defense of your perception of “peaceful Christian morality” vs ” Abiy’s diabolic action” . Hahaha!!

    2. What you missed mentioning though is to mention who would take the PM position after being vacated the elected Dr. Abiy. Oh! you are studying leadership — and may I suppose you want to take the position ??

    Man , being a political leader does not require of being an evengelican/ theologian alone .
    Look for example the American presidents backgrounds and other countries . Even though they have advisors — PM and Presidents are expected to have merits , experiences, knowhows to be combined ( least to mention ) : economics, law, nationalistic history , military skill, international relationships, patriotisms , morality, statesman/stateswoman stature personality , languages skills, orator , visionary , etc.

    By the way , Poor you ! you are not of this kind baby.

  • Theology is not real scholarship, I am sorry ti say. So I give you no points for your level of graduate education and thus critical thinking skills. And hence the reason for your bizarre suggestions in this piece.

  • If uniting a nation divided along so many fault lines is dictatorship, so be it.
    If protecting over 100 million people from savages who would slaughter their sons and daughters sent to protect them in their sleep is dictatorship, so be it.
    If giving peace a chance while the other side is attempting to kill you at every turn is dictatorship, so be it.
    If finally removing a power hungry, inhumane group who had been bleeding their country n sacrificing the lives of many youths for three generations is dictatorship, so be it.
    If respecting the voice of millions of voters who stood in line in the rain n for hours is dictatorship, so be it.
    If such dictatorship is to the liking of the majority, so be it.
    The days of few pseudo-intellectuals imposing their will and wishes against the 100 fold wiser but quite majority of the people of Ethiopia is over.

    • Mr Dhunfa, I personally do not agree with everything said in the article, but this is a long overdue attempt at contemplating as to where Ethiopia is actually heading. Your response is signicative of the mental and spiritual condition of a part of Ethiopia’s population which did not learn from history, has a very short memory, remains longing for strong leaders like Mengistu H/M, readily accepts simplistic view of events or anything and can be easily indoctrinated. In short, it is like Germany in 1930s. We know what happened later.

  • Dear Naol,

    Congratulations! You highlighted the issues very well. You are entitled to your view and you’ve expressed your opinion rather very well. It is a relief to read some commonsense criticisms and suggestions from the evangelical circle, when most are choosing their comfortable silence. Thank you!

  • It is a total lie. He is a self elected dictator who did not get voted by majority of the ethnicities and the whole world despises his genocide on Tigreans and deliberate starvation of the people. His days are numbered and on the day of his self elected ceremony 150 Benshangul innocents have been detained. Even hid best partner in Crime didn’t show up or sent a letter of Congratulation.

  • Dr Naod,
    Thanks for taking your time to write about reconciliation. What your assessment lacks is failure to assess what causes the situation in the first place. The TPLF has instigated attach on the northern command. They have been begged by the religious leaders and elders to choose peace but they disregarded that plea. On an interview conducted on September before the attack occurred in November, Dr Abiy clearly states that he has no intentions of war. He even said the people of Tigray are tired of hearing the sound of bullets. As the commander in chief, he has to protect the nation. There are national security reasons and information that’s not to be shared with the general public. By not stating the whole picture, you are not telling the whole truth and therefore you are just as guilty. You also fail to state the contribution of TPLF and their ethnic politics that’s the root of all the problems.

  • Sensible advise though I’m less inclined to believe in religious arguments applied in realplitik matters, no to mention as being a firm proponent of seperation of state power/ institution and theology.,but the vexing question is does he give a hoot about morality and worthy advice at thus point ? As the writer aptly put it, Abiy has chosen politics and power seduction over morarality humanity and truth so far and it seems there is no going back any tme soo: he is crowned to stay put in next five years through less tranprarent and unfair election and that says lot abour his intentions and resolve at all cost.

  • 40 million people have voted. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali reelected as the prime minister of the federal Republic of Ethiopia. Who the hell are you, one ordinary person, required to resign the state headed? We’ve observed that both internal and external pressure including the US and EU, towards democratically elected Ethiopian government. Despite your pressure, Ethiopia shall be revealed.

  • Such a biased article, even though writer tries so hard to seem unbiased. One crucial fact that the writer ignores or wanted to ignore is the fact that TPLF didn’t want to get with the program. Instead they began to earnestly to dismantle and disintegrate this country. And their plan was to retake the power they had lost once chaos had ensued. The author also seems to forget or purposefully denying the fact that Dr. Abiy Ahmed did everything in his power to keep the peace and had cautioned the leaders of the TPLF to refrain from going to war. He did this because he knew the consequences of such a conflict.
    The government had also declared a unilateral ceasefire to try and see if the leaders of the TPLF had any intentions of following a peaceful path. Instead they saw this as a weakness and decided to invade neighboring Amhara and Afar regions, massacring thousands of civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Negotiations are no longer a viable option when your enemy is hellbent on destroying Ethiopia.

    • What a waste.
      And you call your self an Ethoopian?
      Look first of all your Evanjelican philosophy and the problem the people of Ethiopia facing are quite in a different direction. Ethiopia needs a cocourageous leader, strong faith and steadfast generation to go through this tough time.
      Your suggestion for the PM to resign can not and will not solve the problem, it would help those rug tag traitors to reorganize and do more atrocity against those helpless poor farmers, women and children in Amhara Afar and Oromo region.
      Your prayers do not stop the rockets and bullets that wete being shot at Amhara and Eritrean cities, rather a strong organized and well armed Defence Force and Militia will.
      It looks like you have never experienced the brutal 30 something years of EPRDF in the country. You have never learned from history that an alliance of countries of the West and the East defeated fascist Nazi or Japan.
      The alliance of EPLF and TPLF against the former Ethiopian Military regime was ok for them to ackieve their ill fated dream, that ended in a war between the two.
      How about the alliance between Ethiopia, Yemen and Cuba to defend the Somali expansionists.
      Ethiopia has every right to defend the enemy ie. EPRDF at any cost whether you like it or not.
      I am in my early sixties and am so fade up of this tugs pleading their masters to meddle in our business, put a blind eye to what they did to the people in Humera, Welkayet or parts of Wollo to erase their identity, culture and language. Confiscate their land, humiliate imprison and even kill to grab the land redraw the map and creat the Greater Tigray.
      This won’t happen.
      Believe it or not Ethiopoans support him, follow him and will do anything for the Country.
      Keep on praying, keep on preaching but asking him to resign is not an educated solution to the problem at hand.
      If you have time go visit the victims with a donation, you love the people not the leader right?
      Talk to the soldiers and the militias, you will learn more than what you know and teach.
      Good luck.

      • Mr Dereje,
        I wonder if you really believes in what you have written. You seem to dream to return to pre-1991 Ethiopia, you dreams are coming true. And you seem to confuse the epochs. Were 20 universities opened by Derg or by EPRDF goverment? Was the problem of hunger solved by Derg or who followed it? So many people improved their lives in 2000-2015 in Addis and in regions, did they? Road construction, tourists influx, investments? Even Gerd was launched by Meles Zenawi. There were many problems, still a lot of poverty and a lot of tension, corruption, but was really a progress and raise of Ethiopia. Now it is all being reversed, and you will return to the spot where you started, which is close to zero. However, do not think that ethnic federalism will be dismantled – how Dr Abiy would rule Ethiopia then?

  • We all wish our country to be a better peaceful and sustainable development instead of bombing each other for nothing but I can assure that Abiy Ahmed is the the right person who can sustain and lead Ethiopia in a better ways

    Thank you

    Muluneh

  • You are not christan fellow brother. Rather you are Shane affiliated polotician. You have no moral ground to writte him a letter. Let him , we truely understand you. ለ 5 ዓመት ቻለዉ አንተ መሮ ስልጣን ለይ ከላየህ ቸርች ትተህ ጫካ ግባ

  • Should not you write your appeal to the millions of Ethiopians who gave Dr Abiy and his party the mandate to lead the country for the next five years? Tens of millions of Dr Abiy’s brothers and sisters in Christ and in Allah gave him their confidence to lead. Why should your single voice matter more?

    • He is a self appointed dictator who is bound for ICC for the genocide he committed. Everyone is regretting his appointment. As it could cause more chaos to the entire country who he is slowly dividing and crumbling

      • Day dreaming,
        Keep on lying with lie over lie until you see Dr. Abiy is ousted. May be you may need to wait for another 4 years and 360 days, only if a competent candidate come onboard. If not, we will mandate him another 5 or 10 years. What I can assure you is, it is up to the Ethiopian people who will decide as to who will be our leader. It is OK to dream that Abiy will be thrown out of office, keep on dreaming until you and those dreamers awakened and convinced that he is the ideal person to fit that position.
        Game over!

  • ”Prehapsyou were born for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 Thankyou Dr. Naol for your boldness.

  • Dear Dr Befkadu
    This article gives me hope that there are some Ethiopians who are not delusional!!
    What happening in Tigray is heartbreaking and the division and hate between Ethiopians has never been like this. And A PM Who believes in God and follow the bible can not be heartless, Lier and against dialog and reconcilation.
    And religions individuals and institustions should preach for peace not war!!

  • Dear Dr. Naol,
    I salute you for the objective assessment and generosity to suggest the utmost solution to the current crisis in Ethiopia. Resignation is really the only good PM Abiy can do to Ethiopia right this time. This critique coming from a scholar like you is a gift to the country and the PM as well, if there is anyone out there to listen.

    Failure to implement this, or any further delay, for that matter, would soon see the nation disintegrated and failed. Keep advising, brother.

    Yours Benti

  • Dear Dr. Befkadu,
    You are bold and honest friend. We hope Abiy listens to the advice of his friend and he reconciles with himself and makes peace with the opposition .

  • Dear Dr. Befkadu,
    You are bold and honest friend. We hope Abiy listens to the advice of his friend and he reconciled with himself and makes peace with the opposition .

    • First of all, do a quarter of what he did to criticize and discredit Dr. Abiy. You have divided the country along racial, religious and linguistic lines. Now with what morality do you want to relinquish power to Dr. Abiy ??? who are you? Mercy for u

  • It is very good and timely critic not only for the PM but the Evangelical church. Church has lost her Main Focus, the Gospel.

    But very bad coverage of the last 3 years. As if there are only Oromos and Tgrains were and are the only players of the Ethiopia politics. You tend to care about humaniterian crieses then you should also deal the blood shade and killing of Amharas and somalias in and around oromo Region. OLF burned down shahemene in Oromia and Ataye in Amhara.

    Don’t act as if only truth and Christian Moral made up your Mind to say resign. It is your political interst. Your political Internet is to keep this ethnic federalism with it’s creator TPLF and OLF. Don’t use Evangelical church or the Gospel to Cover up your Rassist face.

  • It is absolutely wonderful to see that there are still people of conscience, and of God, alive and speaking in Ethiopia. Bravo Dr. Naol Befekadu. People have to start speaking up against this madness. Millions of our grandfather’s, grandmother’s, mothers and sisters, sons and daughters are on the verge of starvation because of a political war that has to end. Ethiopians, Muslims and Christians and all must speak out.

  • I dont think you are a christian at all eventhough you want to look like one by putting some humble worlds in your article. clearly you are politically motivated as i extract from the context of your article. I dont like to take sides but you have to know that the state is not your familiy. The government have its own interests. WHAT about the plight of other people the likes of Amhara, gedeo, gumuz, shinasha,afar etc. clearly you dont even recognize them let alone talk about it. racist

  • PM Abiy is given a country that is deeply in debt and in the verge of division. TPLF has the experience, resources, and the connection to drive any leader that doesn’t come with their term into submission. Despite those things Abiy has walked his talk by reforming policies that are changing Ethiopia by the day. Taking a simple example watching a youtube video in Ethiopia was one of the biggest luxuries but now every library has a connection and people who have moderate income can buy broadband at a cheap price. Currently, our export is at an all-time high despite the covid.

    Just because your evangelical doesn’t give your opinion any more value than a TPLF propagandist. If you truly wish ethiopia success let’s all stay patient and give this guy to time to demonstrate

    • Denying the truth ,and supporting the tyrant in Ethiopia is shameful. The current situation of the country is very bad. The shape of the economy is very bad. The country is no longer attractive for investors. The country’s image is damaged; the Abiy administration destroyed the social fabric of the empire. Consequently, Ethiopian Empire is at a verge of collapse. To repair the social fabric and to restore the unity of people, nations and nationalities, Abiy must resign and the constitution must be reinstated. Remember ! Ethiopia existed not by its rulers, but by the will of it s people, nations and nationalities.

      Victory to the people, nations and nationalities of Ethiopia !!!!!

      • The reverse is true. Abiy and his team have set us free from the yolk that TPLF has put on the shoulders of the people of Ethiopia. On the other hand, all miseries occurred after TPLF attack on the Ethiopian Defense Force. You like it or not, the divisive constitution will be amended or changed in such a way that every citizen’s right is respected. Bye!!

      • You’re absolutely wrong and I don’t think you understood the writers intentions. He addressed the situation not from the point of a Cadre but from a Christian perspective. People, nations and nationalities was created by the TPLF to divide the people of Ethiopia which is the main cause for all the problems that our nation is facing now. Furthermore, as you said, Ethiopia didn’t exist by the will of peoples, nations and nationalities, but by the sovereign will of the Almighty. Let me remind you, sir, you joind this conversation because the person you hate so much, Dr Abiy, is mentioned negatively, not because of your concern for the nation. In fact, your concern is mainly focused on TPLF’s loss of power. This is not a platform where you reflect the TPLF’s worthless communist agenda.

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