Op-Ed: Ethiopia Could Not Afford to Go Further into Internal Conflict

The unrest in Ethiopia threatens to engulf the Horn of Africa, with consequences for the EU as well | Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images

By Mohamed Muse

The country with the largest population in the Horn of Africa cannot afford to unexpected internal war and possible institutional breakup. The Horn of Africa has been volatile with significant incidents that encouraged increased insecurity. Sustainable peace and security are yet to have been achieved as multiple elements most of it struggling to govern people in the region with unconceived political extents. After Abiye Ahmed was elected, the current Ethiopian prime minister (Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed receives Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo) predicted reforms could overhaul the structure of the Ethiopian authoritarian government that has been managing the country over the past 30 years rule. Having fashioned a massive expectation among competing constituencies now seems a growing fear that Abiy’s reforms might end up with internal friction by Ethiopians.

The formation of a sub-regional trilateral committee comprised of Ethiopia, Eritrea,  and Somalia (Challenges and Breakthrough for Horn of Africa Region) to absorb previous rifts between those countries and transform them into a living together for peace seems unattainable. The political reforms and regional development for lasting peace in the Horn, does not imply that it lacks a problem, subsequently, the relatively stable country of Ethiopia is now in the problematic square. Violence from intra-ethnic clashes in Ethiopia already exists and have resulted in the displacement of millions, some have reached in the neighbouring countries. The small country of Djibouti would not be able to host a large scale of refugee influx from Ethiopia, and Somaliland/Somalia the same, because of their own security and resources required to resettle due to COVID19 economic shockwaves. Sudan is already in transition, it declared they have closed its border with the Tigray region of Ethiopia, though they have open for refugees, Eritrea has to mobilize once again its forces as it feels exposed to the crisis aimed fear of regional tension from this unexpected conflict.

Conflict in Ethiopia’s regional state of Tigray that (Thousands Flee from the Fighting in Ethiopia Left 550 People) could worsen the situation, if not appropriately addressed. Particularly, TPLF and Tigrayans that felt targeted by the government could negotiate, in order not to cause a further disintegration in the governance system. The current violence could further affect the economic elapse of the country which already struggling with a debt and currency crisis. This would further impact private sector-led liberalization, with open planned privatizations in the telecoms and logistics sectors of the country which prime minister Abiy introduced during his enduring reform efforts. The crisis will give chance to people who fight for greed, particularly the many youths who are unemployed in the country. This will embrace the development of state governance, and weaken the long-sustained institutions. The government forces are likely to disintegrate and some of them might join their ethnic majority, particularly those affected by the current Tigray military operations.

The conflict may have to give space and chance to the extremists (Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant) that already in battle with the federal government of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as Ethiopia has been part of troop-contributing countries for regional peacekeeping mission. One thing is for sure, violence, war, and crisis does never ends so quickly. Local reports confirmed that Ethiopia withdraws its non-AMISOM troops from Somalia and vacated several bases which might, on the other hand, overtake Al-Shabaab which pose further security implications in the region.

Tension and contradictions will always depend on the extent to which the situation would be controlled in the first instant. Inasmuch liberal concept, democratization is a key to rule of law, and if Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) went ahead to have their own local elections. The national government should have been to set a term that’s in line with the constitution, and challenge with dialogue to bring TPLF into the table just for the sake of saving lives, nor no further to displace. The best idea for maintaining peace and security by a national government is to intervene in domestic, sub-regional, and local communities while gaining confidence and continuing to construct human security as part of its responsibility. This would have been part of the construction for constitutional peace in a broader context in Ethiopia. The violence opens the door to non-armed-state actors who have a great description when it comes to engaging with local context and redefined security from state to individual and it will become difficult to prioritize crucial aspects that may have to be the most for development including maintaining national security.

Direct confrontation with the local community to dominates them who in turns part of the state like Tigray are drivers to conflict and it could only spark larger conflict which later threatens the security and stability of the larger region, hoping that it does not go to happen in the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict sees … – The New Humanitarian). But, the idea to mobilize junta forces once again to engage with their own community is what many scholars anticipated it could turn to more violent with no positive end. Non-violence actions are and will be the most appropriate approach to control waves from a society that refused to work with its own government.

‘’Democracy is a system for managing difference without recourse to violence, by David Bloomfield’’

About Author

 Mohamed Muse, A professional officer, and writer in peace and security development areas. MA in Peace and Security, MA in Sustainable Peace in The Contemporary World.

Twitter: @MohamedMuse9



The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Horndiplomat editorial policy.

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