August 21, 2023
“O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” (Holy Quran: 2, 208)
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen of Ethiopia who is deeply troubled by the ongoing conflict and violence in our country. I appreciate your efforts to establish a commission for national dialogue that aims to create common ground on contentious issues and pave the way for national consensus and peace. I believe that such a dialogue is urgently needed and should be inclusive, transparent, and respectful of all segments of the society.
However, I am also alarmed by the behavior and actions of one of the senior advisers to the Prime Minister, Daniel Kibret, who is also a deacon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. I have been following his tweets and posts on social media, and I am appalled by his insulting, provocative, childish, and immature tone. He has been glorifying war and mocking the victims of violence, including the Fano youth militia, who assert that they have been fighting for their rights and dignity. I think they should seek a peaceful route to get their rights and dignity respected.
Daniel has been using onomatopoeic Amharic words such as: ጣጣጣጣጣ – ድም ድም ድም ድም – ግውጋ ግውጋ, which roughly translate to: ratatatat, pew pew pew pew pew, boom boom boom boom, bang bang, to describe the sounds of gunfire and explosions that the Ethiopian National Defense Forces are directing at the Fano. “He has also been using derogatory terms to refer to the Fano, such as “ ጃውሳው [ቀማኛ ወንበዴ ሽፍታ ነጣቂ]”, which roughly translate to extortionist, bandit and/or robber, even though no court has officially declared them as such.
This emphasizes that the labels are his personal views and not legally established facts. It’s important to note that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This principle is a cornerstone of justice systems worldwide. It’s inappropriate for a government official to label individuals or groups in such a manner without due process.
I find his tweets and posts to be highly inappropriate and irresponsible for someone who holds such a high position in the government and the church. He is not only disrespecting the Fano but also the Ethiopian people and the national dialogue process. He is undermining the credibility and integrity of the commission that you are leading, and fueling suspicions that the process is not free from political influence or bias. He is also contradicting the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in 2019 for his efforts toward attaining peace and international cooperation.
I urge you to take appropriate measures to address his conduct and ensure accountability for his actions in his role as a senior adviser to the Prime Minister. I also urge you to ensure that the national dialogue process is truly inclusive and representative of all stakeholders, including armed groups, ethnic groups, women, youth, religious leaders, civil society organizations, and others.
I hope that you will listen to the voices of all Ethiopians who are longing for peace, justice, and reconciliation. I look forward to seeing your response to these concerns.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The writer can be reached at [email protected]
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