Impending calamity of ethnic conflict in Ethiopia failed making doomsayers’ prediction futile


The significance of the economic recovery of Africa, including Ethiopia, has been strongly emphasized by economists. They warned that economic growth has to be robust. In the recent past, African countries have made significant progress towards economic and political liberalization. This, in turn, has buttressed the growth in economic performance.

A great number of African countries have experienced some improvement, while some were worse off than they had been before due to civil wars. As a result, some of the countries in the region have been growing below the rate needed to meet the target of reducing poverty.

In Ethiopia, economic growth has been high, but with a lopsided development. Economic growth decelerated in some parts of the country because of the incidence of war and civil unrest as it had happened during the TPLF regime. As political stability deteriorated, Ethiopians have been severely affected by civil war. There were also conflicts that had resulted in heavy social and economic damages.

These damages had further impoverished the Ethiopian people. There were, however, common misperceptions regarding the fundamental causes of the conflicts, which had arrested economic development in the country. There has been a need to closely investigate the causes of war and the factors contributing to peace.

Political scientists have advanced several propositions to explain why civil wars and rebellions took place in some developing countries. In Ethiopia, innate ethnic and religious hatred had been propagated by the TPLF regime. These hatreds have been exploited by ambitious leaders of the regime. Hatred produced grievance, where the performance of the junta had been against national interests.

It had also caused distributional grievance, where performance of the regime had been particularly discriminatory against a given group or groups causing frustration in the Ethiopian society. This frustration had motivated ambitious politicians to reap gains by capturing the state and its resource base. But, these developments did not have lasting social base in the society.

Researchers had identified some of the explanations for theft through state capture. Conflict was inseparably related to poverty, which was essentially lack of human capital, which might lead to social discord and civil war. The youths who did not accept the situation of poverty might join a rebel army which became an employment opportunity in the absence of job markets for the youth.

As conflict was related to the “inequitable” and unfair sharing of valuable natural resources it exacerbated many other socio-economic problems during the TPLF regime. And, whenever land rich in natural resources had been captured by the junta, it had “plundered” these resources and continued with conflicts. These conflicts had broken out where the regime perpetuated undemocratic political institutions.

Conflicts and war had been ignited where the TPLF regime had failed to address national grievances in time. Obviously, social conflicts were less probable in countries with full democracy. The more democratic the society, the more it addressed frustrations and conflicts by seeking solutions.

The more governments were responsive to the issues raised by the people the lesser the risk of civil war would be. Undemocratic and divided societies risked the danger of fracture. Contrary to what doomsayers predicted that Ethiopia would be unstable with several ethnic, tribal, and clannish communities, the evidence showed that ethnic and religious diversity could be a stabilizing factor. In fact, there was a higher risk of civil wars in ethnically more homogeneous societies than in more diverse ones.

It was observed that diversity made societies safer by reducing the probability of ethnic conflicts. It was simply more expensive and complicated to create trouble in diverse societies. But, homogeneous groups like the TPLF junta had created conflicts in Ethiopia where pluralistic societies had existed at the same time. In a similar situation, these conflicts mighttend to last for shorter periods, as it was harder for rebels to be cohesive.

There might be splinter groups within the homogeneous society. When poverty was high in these societies, natural resource endowments were not managed equitably. During the junta rule, which had been undemocratic, societies had been polarized, resulting in conflicts the costs of which had been huge. These conflicts, in turn, had led to local battles and wars.

These battles and wars had led to the impairment of economic development in Africa. The experiences of war were very tragic as observed in Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Civil wars not only devastated the lives of people, but they also damaged their property and livestock. These wars had wrecked and devastated the environment.

They inflicted havoc and destruction on social services, traumatizing the society, the parents and the youth. Civil wars forced people to abandon their residence and migrate to neighboring counties or regions as refugees, engulfing stable families in neighboring zones. In Ethiopia, people were internally displaced or migrated without destination just to escape civil wars flaring in their place of origin. These wars had been imposed by the TPLF junta on the poor, but peaceful people residing in the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.

The empirical evidences on the effects of the aggressions are now overwhelming and difficult to put in writing. However, effort is made here just to mention lightly the immense aggressions the junta had committed. Its armed bandits had destroyed cities, leaving the economic and social infrastructure shattered beyond recognition.

The aggression had a negative shock on economic infrastructures, destroying both public and private enterprises, including banks, factories, farms, houses and furniture, rural and urban dwellings. It had sexually abused octogenarians, young girls, and retarded and mentally sick women in front of their children.

These are only the tip of a huge iceberg of destructions, obliteration, annihilation, demolitions, devastations, and savage ruins. In the rural areas, the wild junta had slaughtered cattle for eating raw meat. It afterwards gunned down these cattle just to leave the rural farming community without any draught animals for future survival.

The TPLF armed aggression had destroyed and diverted domestic investment. It had also triggered massive capital flight that discouraged new foreign direct investment. The junta had also been determined to distort and abuse foreign aid that was earmarked for emergencies. It had diverted heavy trucks carrying food aid to the war ravaged areas leaving the poor people to die of starvation.

What was woeful, miserable and distressing was the lack of report by international aid agencies, except one, on the diversion of aid by the junta.The aid had been sent to the war torn regions where poor people waited for hungrily. The question was why did the aid agencies keep silent on such inhuman acts of the junta? Was there a collusion, complicity or conspiracy between aid agencies and the junta? The UN has the responsibility of finding the truth, and revealing it to those who suffered from the illicit and criminal acts.

Armed conflicts that had been initiated by the TPLF junta in Ethiopia had massively diverted government budget away from provision of social and economic services towards military expenditure. The current conflict was estimated to be consuming billions of dollars which amounted to a high proportion of the country’s GDP.

The junta had destroyed thousands of health institutions such as hospitals, health centers and pharmacies. It had confiscated medical facilities, beds, medicines, laboratories and amenities. It had also burnt lavatories, bathrooms, toilets and other amenities that could not be carried away due to their heavy weight. The TPLF junta had murdered weak patients being treated in hospitals.

The junta had also carried out destruction in other sectors in the regions it had conducted massive destruction. Schools, universities, and infrastructures have been destroyed beyond recovery. Millions of students were out of schools and universities in the Amhara and Afar regions. Similarly, school teachers and university lecturers were forcefully disbanded by the junta at gun point.

Some of the teaching staff stayed alive hidden in their domicile or residence or flying away from their work place, leaving their property behind. The destruction of infrastructure was beyond imagination. Bridges and roads had been destroyed. Stores had been ransacked, left with empty shelves. Both public and private service catering shops had been ransacked, looted, vandalized, raided and robbed, after killing the guards.

It is now time that Ethiopians reflect on the causes and effects of civil strife and warfare. Historically, the Western Whiteman (WW) leaders had been determined to dismember Ethiopia either directly or indirectly. In the latter case the WW leaders had employed domestic Bandas, who served their goal of eliminating Nationalist Ethiopian Leaders. In all their attempts the WW leaders have failed.

They had tried to use the UN forum for their long-term agenda. In less than half a year they had attempted thirteen times to abuse the UN Security Council to condemn the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, simply because he refused to implement the agenda of the WW leaders.

They had conducted aggressions through proxy wars using mercenaries such as the TPLF junta. Currently, they are attempting to use the EU forum to condemn the government for genocide. The government and the Diaspora should reject such evil attempt by all means.

To minimize the effects of the civil war in Ethiopia, all citizens, including those in the Diaspora, are determined to “continue” revitalizing the social and economic development of the war-torn parts of the country. These efforts of the people should be guided with an “Emergency Plan” for effective use of resources.

The Planning Commission may take the responsibility to guide efforts in a coordinated manner. Its regional counterparts should also work in close cooperation with the Federal institution. Resources may be solicited from business enterprises, public and civil services, urban and rural institutions on a “periodic” basis. All the efforts will have to continue until the “Emergency” situation is declared over. Of course, the emergency program is approved and implemented by the government. The inclusion of the Diaspora in program formulation and implementation is of the essence.

Finally, peace building and conflict prevention efforts should be guided by equitable and all-inclusive economic and social development. Growth and development must be coupled with policies that deliberately attack not only poverty, but also its “root” causes. These require policies that are focused on removing the causes and effects of war through a recovery plan for the affected people, with great emphasis on returnees who defended Ethiopia with their lives.

There is a need to build regional centers for those returnees that are disabled for life. Of course, Ethiopia will emerge stronger than ever through the reconstruction of economic and social institutions destroyed by the war.

The January 5/2022

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