Ethnic Administration in Ethiopia What Future Does it Hold?

Ethnic Administration in Ethiopia What Future Does it Hold?

By Tesfahannes Beyene
araele13@yahoo.com
PART EIGHT

Before discussing ethnic administration and its consequence it would be useful to define what we mean by ethnicity or ethnic? According to Wikipedia ethnicity is socially defined category of people who identify themselves with each other, based on common ancestral, origin, history, homeland, language, dialect, and sometimes Ideology... manifesting itself through symbolic systems such as religion, mythology, ritual, cousin, dressing, physical appearance etc.

Arend Lijphart who carried out various studies on ethnicity or ethnic rule tells us that if ethnic rule is to prevail peacefully, there must be successful political accommodation of diverse ethnic groups in society.... whereby tangible benefit can be achieved through recognition and devising appropriate institution for accommodation and power sharing within in the boundaries of the nation state. There are others who say that nations should instead enforce political legal equality of all ethnicities and that, resources and political power should be distributed to all ethnic regions equally.  if you do allow ethnic divisions to grow there is a strong possibility that it could radicalize people and lead to ethnic problems and at an extreme, ethnic cleansing. This has happen in the past and will keep on happening in the future. Thus if any government adopts the policy of ethnic administration the consequence are therefore, instead of believing in shared values, ethnicity would definitely lead to a secluded community clinging to its own ethnic identity.

Presently Ethiopia is ruled by the Tigreyan ethnic minority but they want us to be believe it is a unity government, governed by all ethnic groups, who administer their regions according to the interest and needs of local population. Of course it is true they have set up multi party system of different ethnic groups in the regions, but it is a facade. Because it is the ruling ethnic party, the Tigreyans who are in complete control of the country and have a population of only 4-5 million people. While the two largest ethnic groups are the Oromos with 30 million and the Amharas with 25 million who dominated Ethiopian politics for decades in the past while the rest of the other smaller ethnic groups are watching Ethiopian politics helplessly and it is obvious the Tigreyan ethnic minority are the once who have the final decision on the destiny of Ethiopia at present. Even the so called ethnic leaders of the multi party system are being used as vehicles to promote the interest of the minority government and nothing else.

It is quite interesting to note that even during the historic period of the autocratic Ethiopian emperor-- ethnic rule was forbidden. However the Emperors legacy ended when Norther Ethiopia was dogged down by a famine in 1973 which exposed the rule of the emperor and he was deposed by a notorious blood thirsty Marxist Leninist military Junta called the Derg in 1974.  Again during the reign of the Derg era its ruler Mengistu Hailemariam never allowed ethnic rule Ethiopia. However in order to stay in power he terrorized his opponents not using ethnic rule but using other tactics to cling to power and bring the country into fear and submission using cruel tactics by suppressing the population. To prove his cruelty to his country men and women Mengistu quickly got rid of the previous administration's cabinet ministers by either arresting them putting them in jail with out any trail or having them killed out right. For instance Mengistu shot dead more than 60 members of the emperors ministers by firing squad for fear that they could in turn kill him. The emperor himself was not spared, he was in fact suffocated at Mengistu's orders and his body was buried under his office toilets in Addis Abbeba. His main objective was to wipe out all traces of the emperor and his followers. Mengistu also aimed to wipe out his enemies using the feared policy of what was then called the Red Terror using arbitrary execution, lynchings and street massacres. He managed to terrorized the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Again his rule never introduced ethnic rule as a policy and his main admnistrative policy has always been Ethiopia Tikdem or Ethiopia first and anything else later. In today's Ethiopia, the ethnic minority government's cynical policy of war of terror which primarily promotes the interest of the United States in maintaining a Drone base inside Ethiopia to kill and maim its opponents like Al Shebab in Somalia or AlQaida in the Arabian peninsula. The minority government is also taking advantage of the War on Terror to its own benefit in black mailing its opponent using terror laws to suppress or weaken them inside or outside the country.

So the previous two administrations, the Emperor and the Derg, never used Ethnic administration during their rule in Ethiopia but they had their shortcoming that some regions were under represented in so many ways. For instance the people of Tigrai in Northern Ethiopia were denied economic and educational opportunities, the region was systematically starved of any investment, the region was the most impoverished, frequently affected by famine and drought, power was mainly in the hands of the ruling Amhara elites. To add salt to the wound, the Derg also used to mock the Tigreans in saying that the only thing they own was one Grinding Milling machine. To prove his heartlessness and determination to crush his enemies, he bombed the Tigreayan town of Hawzien in January 1988 using Ethiopian Air force fighter Jets targeting and maiming civilian population in an open market killing more than 200 people. The resentment against Mengistu soared that the Tigreyans felt humiliated, burdened, maimed, killed with out any justification. Then they rebelled against their central governments by actively pursuing their armed struggle for some kind of self rule against the two regimes for their political and human rights.

As a result they speed up their armed struggle cooperating with the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF). Therefore we, the Eritreans and the Tigreain Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), cooperated militarily together and brought down the dictatorship of Mengistu Hailemariamin 1991. This happened so quickly that once Eritreans was liberated from any Ethiopian rule, the Eritrean Tank brigade moved swiftly towards Ethiopia to help our then comrades in arms who quickly took control of the Ethiopian capital and deposed the crazy dictator. Immediately afterwords the Tigreyan were firmly enthroned to seize power in Addis Abbaba with the help of us.. Eritreans. Once they are firmly in full control of Ethiopia the present minority government of Ethiopia introduced the so called ethnic federalism with aim of reducing conflicts, and giving powers to the regions. However power is firmly embedded in the hands of the Tigreyan minority government especially economic, military, financial institutions at least for the moment.

The thinking behind their philosophy of ethnic federalism is to promote the interest of the ethnic groups by providing them significant powers to run their regions by themselves.  Ethiopia is now ruled by EPRDF a coalition of liberation movement leaders and other ethnic groups, but evidence show that the TPLF are the most single and important decision making body in Ethiopia. They have veto power on any legislation they want to implement, they can declare war on their enemies and pass legislation at their Parliament. And the hidden agenda is to stay in office as long as possible. After all the ethnic chiefs selected by the central government in Ethiopia to administer the regions will have no choice but to toe the line of the minority leadership or loose power. It should also be noted that the population of Ethiopia is75-80 million and the Tigreyans are between 4-5 million, this simply means the Tigreyans represent almost 5-6 % of the Ethiopian population while the rest 94% the majority are governed by that minority.

The biggest ethnic group in Ethiopia are the Oromos, followed by the Amharas and the rest of other ethnic communities. The arithmetic tells us that if the Tigreyans represent only 6% of the population, one may ask why would they, the minority Tigreyans have control of the whole country? Of course the ruling party would like us to believe that power has been extended to regions using ethnic policy, but as you can see from the list below, all the names listed in high strategic posts are Tigreyans and have the strangle hold of power in Ethiopia whether the Amhara or the Oromos like it or not. That the Tigreyans are in complete control of the 90% of the top posts in Ethiopia, be it Economic, Military, Foreign office and the entire command and control center of the nations armed forces are all Tigreyans. At times they may put people of different ethnic groups in a good position as a gesture of politics but their deputies are definitely Tigreyan to keep an eye on them and the list below is testimony that power is firmly in the hands of the Tigreyan minority of Northern Ethiopia.


High Ranking Military Officials
Principal Defense Departments
No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff
General Smora Yenus
Tigre
2
Armed Forces Head of Training
Lt.General Tadesse Worde
Tigre
3
Head of Logistics
Lt.General Gezae Abera
Tigre
4
Head of Intelligence
Br. General Gebre Dela
Tigre
5
Armed Forces Head of Campaign
Major General Gebreegzher
Tigre
6
Armed Forces Head of Engineering
Lt.General Berhane Negash
Tigre
7
Chief of the Air Force
Chief of the Air Force
Tigre
Heads of the Nation’s four Military Commands
No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
Central Command
General Abebaw Tadesse
Agew
2
Northern Command
Lt.General Saere Mekonene
Tigre
3
South Eastern CommandLt.General Abraha Wolde
Tigre
4
Western CommandBr. General Seyoum Hagos
Tigre
Army Divisional Commanders
Central Command
No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
31st Army DivisionColonel Tsegaye Marx
Tigre
2
33rd Army DivisionColonel Kidane
Tigre
3
35th Army DivisionColonel Misganaw Alemu
Tigre
4
24th Army DivisionColonel Work Aynu
Tigre
5
22nd Army DivisionColonel Dikul
Tigre
6
8th Mechanized DivisionColonel Jamal Mohammed
Tigre

Northern Command
No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
14st Army DivisionColonel Wodi Antiru
Tigre
2
21st Army DivisionColonel Gueshi Gebre
Tigre
3
11th Army DivisionColonel Workidu
Tigre
4
25th Army DivisionColonel Tesfay Sahiel
Tigre
5
22nd Army DivisionColonel Teklay Klashin
Tigre
6
4th Mechanized DivisionColonel Hinsaw Giorgis
Tigre

South Eastern Command
No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
19st Army DivisionColonel Wodi Guaae
Tigre
2
44st Army DivisionColonel Zewdu Tefera
Tigre
3
13th Army DivisionColonel Sherifo
Tigre
4
12th Army DivisionColonel Mulugeta Berhe
Tigre
5
32nd Army DivisionColonel Abraha Tselim
Tigre
6
6th Mechanized DivisionColonel G/Medhin Fekede
Tigre

Western Command
No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
23rd Army DivisionColonel Wolde Belalom
Tigre
2
43rd Army DivisionColonel Wodi Abate
Tigre
3
26th Army DivisionColonel Mebrahtu
Tigre
4
7th Mechanized DivisionColonel Gebre Mariam
Tigre

Commanders in Different Defense Departments
No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
Agazi Commando DivisionB.General Mohammed Esha
Tigre
2
Addis Ababa & Surrounding Area GuardColonel Zenebe Amare
Tigre
3
Palace GuardColonel Gerensay
Tigre
4
Banking GuardColonel Hawaz Woldu
Tigre
5
Engineering CollegeColonel Halefom Eggigu
Tigre
6
Military Health ScienceB.General Tesfay Gidey
Tigre
7
Mulugeta Buli Technical CollegeColonel Meleya Amare
Tigre
8
Resource Management CollegeColonel Letay
Tigre
9
Siftana Command CollegeB.General Moges Haile
Tigre
10
Blaten Military Training CenterColonel Salih Berihu
Tigre
11
Wourso Military Training CenterColonel Negash Heluf
Tigre
12
Awash Arba Military Training CenterColonel Muze
Tigre
13
Birr Valley Military Training CenterColonel Negassie Shikortet
Tigre
14
Defense Administration DepartmentB.General Mehari Zewde
Tigre
15
Defense AviationB.General Kinfe Dagnew
Tigre
16
Defense Research and StudyB.General Halefom Chento
Tigre
17
Defense Justice DepartmentColonel Askale
Tigre
18
Secretary of the Chief-of-StaffColonel Tsehaye Manjus
Tigre
19
Indoctrination CenterB.General Akale Asaye
Amhara
20
Communications DepartmentColonel Sebbhat
Tigre
21
Foreign Relations DepartmentColonel Hassene
Tigre
22
Special Forces Coordination DepartmentB.General Fisseha Manjus
Tigre
23
Operations DepartmentColonel Wodi Tewk
Tigre
24
Planning, Readiness and Programming DepartmentColonel Teklay Ashebir
Tigre
25
Defense Industries Coordination DepartmentColonel Wodi Negash
Tigre
26
Defense Finance DepartmentColonel Zewdu
Tigre
27
Defense Purchasing DepartmentColonel Gedey
Tigre
28
Defense Budget DepartmentAto/Mr. Berhane
Tigre

More over the present rulers of Ethiopia claim to share power with the other ethnic groups, it is a smoke screen to hide their rule as a minority. We all know power is still in the hands of the Tigreyan minority, because all the military financial, economic institution are tightly in their hands, they are in the driving seat and they are the ones who are guiding Ethiopia. They select leaders to run ethnic regions the way the Tigreyans want it to be managed and as Berhanu Balcha, an Ethiopian academic put it, the main reason for the Minority government of Ethiopia to excessively empower ethnic groups is simply to co opt elites from various ethnic groups who have not made an effective resistance against the dominance of the Tigreyan elites in the Ethiopian state. In other words the academic said it very clear that the minority government has not been honest in implementing genuine ethnic federalism because real power is still exercised by them.

Finally, as they say, what goes up must come down, the minority government of Ethiopia has gone up and up and the sky has been the limit. It is quite strange that the minority government seem to be believing its own propaganda that at least for the moment. The fact of the matter is that ethnic rule is divisive and so far they have managed to buy off a lot of people, nevertheless many are not happy and one day there will be ethnic conflict in Ethiopia. Of course it may not be on the scale of other African countries, but there is an ethnic time bomb waiting to explode after their 24th May election so long as the minority government are ruling over the majority. So the view from many people that I have spoken is that the minority government has over stayed its welcome and they say there will be an avalanche of spontaneous revolution starting from the epicenter of Addis spreading to other towns in Ethiopia and it will have significant spill over for the rest of country.

In short Ethiopia may face what Egypt faced that, Mubarak ruled Egypt with a tight grip for almost 30 years and was ousted in February 2011 by a volcano of human eruption. So what future does it hold for the minority government and the rest of Ethiopia. My personal view is that ethnic rule is doomed to fail and the future would definitely looks very bleak, because the minority government in Ethiopia would end up falling from power like its predecessors and the future for Ethiopia and especially for the people of Tigreyans after 24th of may election of 2015 remains bleak and it will certainly lead into post electoral violence. In which Minority governments property and business will be at risk.

 PART NINE TO FOLLOW LONDON 17th OF MAY 2015
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