Twitter thread by Goytom Teklu who recently authored a wonderful article on Ethiopian Insight.
When Abiy Ahmed came to Tigray soon after he assumed power, in April 2018, his speech got accepted with rapturous applause.
He called Tigray, “the motor of Ethiopia.” Tigrayans were supportive of the new prime minister. But within two months that perception started to change.
2. The friction between Abiy and Tigrayans precedes complete Abiy’s falling out with TPLF. In fact, most of it happened when TPLF was in EPRDF and gave him a vote of confidence by giving him their entire vote in the EPRDF General Council in Hawassa and when TPLFites were fed government.
3. On June 19, after ethnic violence happend in Hawassa that was a characteristic of the PM tenure, Abiy, before any kind of investigation is done and perpetrators were brought to justice, implying, a Tigrayan hand, branded the people who are responsible for it as “Day Time Hyenas.”
4. Late in June, after another violence, in Benishangul, the prime minister said people everywhere should look out for “Tsegure Lewet” translated as “a stranger” who are behind all of this.
5. These kinds of labeling helped various types of extremists to ethnically profile, attack, cleanse Tigrayans all over Ethiopia. In one case, in Amhara region a Tigrayan religious scholar was stoned to death in a church after labeling him “Tsegure Lewet.”
6. Before the end of June, in a massive rally to support the new prime minister, the pm said the following insane genocidal thing for 100k’s of rally goers. “we won’t chop down an entire forest of trees to kill a rat. Because of one inclined tree let us not deforest an entire forest.”
6. Soon after that one event happened that made everyone forget the speech. One bomb detonated around the stage and changed everything.
7. The PM who supposedly believes an attempt on his life was taken place went on TV immediately and said “Those people known for this sort of thing are behind this” before any kind of investigation is done.
8. Abiy did not say specifically say who did it, but obviously he was Implying a Tigrayan hand in a security apparatus being responsible for it. But this dangerous rhetoric toward the people he already labeled and exposed to horrible attacks in previous weeks didn’t bring the worst.
9. Then, after a month the new PM went to US to meet with Ethiopian diaspora. The prime minister had a town hall’s where a member of diaspora asks the prime minister a question. The prime minister was very dismissive, to say the least, of questions that came from Tigrayans
10. When asked by a Tigrayan “If they are caught, why aren’t the perpetrators of the June bombing were called by name.” The PM answered, “if you guys wanted to wash your hands of the responsibility, No, you are not clean. We are investigating who trained, financed, and did the logistics”.
11. When another Tigrayan asked about involving Tigray and Tigrayans in the peace process with Eritrea, he “answered” by insincerely misrepresenting the question as rejecting his authority and remarking that would be “village politics”.
12. He even seemingly made a jibe about Tigrayan Martyr Hayelom Araya, by saying. “Even if we die, we won’t die in a cheap bars.” Committing a cardinal sin among Tigrayans.
13. He also praised ESAT, the formerly Eritrean government funded “Ginbot 7″ party propaganda channel, that at one time made genocidal call against Tigrayans, of being a model media.
14. The nail in the coffin probably in Abiy and Tigrayan relationship comes in November 2018. When Abiy government aired a serious of documentaries that specifically used the language “Tigrigna speakers” of first, “stealing” and “torturing” the country for 27 years.
15. All of this was in the first 6-8 months of Abiy’s tenure. The prime minister went from being well received to being enemy no.1 of Tigrayans. But why? I will revisit it soon. In the mean time give me your take.