Ethiopia must first find its peace through citizens’ peaceful co-existence with one another

22 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)


In a June 18, 2019 article D. Sertse Desta is encouraging Ethiopians to find “your blood in Africa.”

I was puzzled why we need DNA test in order to find distant relations, when we could not live in peace and friendship with those close to each one of us. I reacted on Satenaw, as follows:


By Keffyalew Gebremedhin 

Note to the editor: I thought I was writing a comment. Now I see that it has become full-bodied article. Instead I would kindly ask you to publish it as an article. Thank you!

by Keffyalew Gebremedhin

Not even in my remotest pretension could I claim understanding DNA and the level maturity it has reached today. Nonetheless, I could boast of awareness of its efficacy in medicine, especially in correcting early problems in babies in the mothers’ womb. In criminal investigations, it also is effective in untangling horrendous crimes.

I am in no doubt, Ethiopians and other peoples of our region had throughout history been in constant over-rooting movements and migrations thus traversing distances. This means we are likely to have lots of relatives and from bygone centuries, distant cousins and nieces, even beyond today’s Africa. It’s only DNA that could tell us a great deal of its mystery.

Nonetheless, my inability to see value and relevance in D.Sertse Desta’s piece, introducing Ethiopia’s DNA sources, results from not being informed what good knowing our distant relatives does to us, when we are not interested in the present and nearby ones!

I say this, due to the failure of our politics as much as our past, which has engulfed the present, given the insanity that has already set in Ethiopia!

Today, as Ethiopians, we are embroiled in all sorts of ethnic conflicts amongst our fellow citizens. Luckily, at least in the present, this does not involve conflicts with our immediate neighbours—Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. This very Ethiopia has brought in Eritrea from the cold, for which the TPLF –booted out of power in 2018 —cannot forgive Addis Abeba!

I hope the DNA-informer-writer sees my point here that and, to tell us if he sees any help from DNA in this regard. I say this notwithstanding PM Abiy’s oft-repeated exhortations to citizens of Ethiopia about outliving its ill-wishers. And yet, we have eyes and we see it coming our country losing by the day its ability to continue to survive because of the greed of a few and political disease called ethnicity of the many.

Deep inside, the shame should be unbearable to all citizens this happening today to one of the world’s oldest nation, wherein today 3 percent of the population is displaced! gravity of this problem must be weighed on Ethiopia in previous lawless several centuries having done better in ensuring its survival as such. It has also managed to hold onto its own, repulsing impertinent aggressors and those that aspired to take a bite of what justly are its own, or after the 14th century those that were emboldened to hope to colonise it under various subterfuges!

If we were one, in the real sense of one nation, and Ethiopia were rich, we could all have imagined and seized any opportunity to honour and celebrate this truly magnificent country, despite its crushing poverty and cruelty and selfishness of its leaders!

I should ask now if at all this present rich DNA-induced knowledge our world posses could in any way help us how we can heal.

Description of the problem now is, we as citizens of the same country—Ethiopia—cannot live in peace with one another. For instance, the Amharas cannot live with Tigreans, nor Tigreans with Oromos, or Oromos with Gedeos, or XYZs with ZYXs, etc. In Washington at the US Institute of Peace a small group discussion of four former US ambassadors in Ethiopia in front of an audience on 5 June 2019 (, I heard a scholar at the end of the discussion INFORMING the discussants and the audience, the present dislocation in Ethiopia should not be restricted to ethnicity alone, absent democracy in the country.

One of the respondents, Ambassador Donald Booth seemed to put his finger on the problem, disagreeing with government forcing dislocated people back to where they came from, which he said defies logic. He added, a view on this is a matter of where one is located: Tigreans finding it easier to lament Ethiopia’s collapse, while the Oromos welcoming it as arrival of their time. Politely pushing aside, the academic focus, Ambassador Booth instead pointed out the ethnicity problem could not be solved until the broader structural problem the country is experiencing finds the appropriate solution.

Not that I put my ideas in one basket the administration has put for a take by citizens, the problem is attributed to cruel power-mongers managing to have Ethiopians fight one another. The purpose is rather self-serving to whoever is advancing this, including the Oromo Democratic Party’s Ministry of Peace. It says this because this gives it the enemy out there to blame, since it is afraid of machinations by the TPLF and all this being done to give it time and energy for its return to power!

Whatever the origin of the current crisis, it has caused huge displacement in the country, three percent of the 105 million population. Ethiopia is today enjoying the dubious honour of heading the global human displacement ranking, sadly ahead of Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Myanmar, etc.

Ethiopian schools and higher institutions of learning are in constant disruptions. As if programmed, the reality of one of their own, a bright young man is killed by stoning or club by members of one or the other ethnic group and buried. Female students are exposed to raping by one of their own or the security personnel called in to pacify the situation. To date no one in Ethiopia has been held accountable for these crimes.

Inevitably crime has gone up in Ethiopia— several times higher than, I dare say, any time before in the country’s history: beyond “a rise”— a favourite word statisticians love to employ frequently.

In the past, it is common knowledge the TPLF ensured the economy cheated by how much it has grown, or improved life conditions, welfare gains, roads, buildings, bridges by whopping percentages or numbers. Today, there is no way of doing that, since the economy is in danger of grinding to a halt, though the bent to inherited empty rhetoric continues. Perhaps in better times, this very same people in government seem to have the DNA to do exactly what the TPLF has done — too bad for them, they do not like it when they are corrected!

These latter parts may be in the crime category, if so, could DNA offer something to Ethiopia by way of exposing the gene doing so?

To top it all, the Abiy Administration is also being accused of ineptitude, among others, on the rule of law front. There is also the charge against the administration of committing sins: eating from the ethnic dishes, of the kind George Eliot wrote in Adame Bede (1859) about a cock that “thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.” When convenient the administration has used ethnicity to its advantages, as pointed out by citizens at different times, the scale of which is increasing.

A case in point is the latest appointment by Abiy Ahmed of the Consul-General in Los Angeles. In article, the prime minister is urged to Professionalize the Bureaucracy not ethnicizing it (

In addition, recall that in Dessie, Wollo, the prime minister had to confront the same question ( Implied in this is the Abiy Administration is also using its power to benefit Oromos, since in power powerful people first and foremost benefit their own. As far as he is concerned, Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed vowed clearly asserting to resign within 24 hours, if Oromos in his administration have benefitted 0.1% more in posts the occupy, although the numbers are changing by the day.

After the TPLF was sent packing and hid itself in Mekele (Tigray), by 2018 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was firmly convinced about the direction of the changes and renewal of Ethiopia is taking under his leadership.

A year later, it is unfortunate that Ethiopia should find itself more divided than ever. In and around Addis Abeba alone, as many Ethiopians have been thrown to the streets, homes demolished and the lands seized by the administration. At home and abroad, the charge is it’s not Oromos, who are being thrown out! The ruling party has put the lands in its control faster than the TPLF has done in the first few years.

Not only that our ethnic division is endangering the very existence of individual citizens’ right to live in peace and the continued survival of the country itself. As if citizens have not seen and embraced the prime minister as if a gift from God above, including this writer, despite the reproach of some other citizens today we ourselves raise the administration’s actions and failures that feed citizens’ distrusts.

Could DNA ever come up with evidence to such problem, perhaps gene correction in political leaders?

I say, the government could better and good by encouraging openness, instead of the prime minister himself becoming the hammer head reproaching and disapproving of such nagging questions.

As a matter of fact, I’ve started reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854) I ordered and only received on the eve of the Midsummer Day. A person who had led honest life, the writer Thoreau is full of questions. He quietly fought the world he lived in, every day raising lots of questions. In one instance:

“There is solid bottom everywhere. We read that the traveller asked the boy if the swamp before him had a hard bottom. The boy replied that it had. But presently the traveller’s horse sank in up to the girths, and he observed to the boy, “I thought you said that this bod had a hard bottom.” “So it has,” answered the latter, “but you have not got half way to it yet.” Thoreau concludes from this, “So it is with the bots and quicksands of society; but he is an old boy that knows it.”



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