Embrace dialogue to end Ethiopia disaster
Christians believe in biblical teachings in the book of Mark that “what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?” Whereas the contexts are different, the same can be said of Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s Debretsion Gebremichael.
What will the leaders profit if they control Ethiopia but lose the population? It is obvious the country is on the brink of a civil war. Already there are accusations of mass killings and ethnic cleansing.
Abiy has told civilians to take up arms and defend Addis Ababa with the Tigray forces promising to run over the capital in a matter of weeks. This is disheartening.
Ethiopia has been Africa’s bastion of hope and fortitude from the days of colonialism, to its role in the negritude movement and liberation of blacks from the chokehold of slavery and servitude.
There was pride in identifying with Ethiopia. The current war has, however, eroded the faith the continent had in the region. And there is a huge risk that the country could lose all it has struggled to build for decades.
The grandstanding being witnessed in the country will not solve the problems at hand. It is, however, encouraging that African Union peace negotiator Olusegun Obasanjo has said there is room for dialogue. In his words, the problem in Ethiopia is political and requires a political solution through dialogue.
The former Nigerian President sees a small window of opportunity to engage the leaders and this could be all it takes to end the massacre that has been compounded by elements of nature such a debilitating famine.
The war is threatening Africa’s legacy and should not be left to continue. Those carrying guns must put them down and sit on the negotiation table.
Those calling for obliteration of communities and arresting people based on tribe must stop and embrace dialogue. The price for this war is too steep, not just for Ethiopia but for Africa as a whole. That’s why the warring parties must not be allowed to collapse the country.
We admonish the violence being directed on helpless women and children fleeing the battlefields. We support calls for dialogue as the only result from war is a broken country.
Global leaders should join hands with the AU to end the suffering of Ethiopians. And the architects of peace should move with speed to ensure sanity prevails.