Gregorian 2020 will be remembered for many things in Ethiopia leaving aside whatever may have happened abroad. In many ways, it was a defining year for us.
It was the year that has been characterized by crucial events. One of the key issues of the year was of course the Covid issue. It reached our beaches late and we had the benefit of time to prepare ourselves as compared to elsewhere, but it did however impact our lives profoundly. Having observed that even the most powerful had to bow to it, it was inevitable that we suffer the fallouts.
Millions were driven out of work. The hospitality industry along with all those who relied on it indirectly were affected. Tourism, the hotel as well as transport industry were debilitated.
The entire health infrastructure was also tested in an unprecedented way. A series of unpredicted events materialized challenging the very matrix of our society which is highly interconnected while the virus demanded isolation.
While we may observe that our society has not been affected as much as the foreign world, the damage to our society however has yet to be fathomed. Our fragile economy needs huge stimulus and support from the more advanced economies and there have been some positive signs. But the challenges are here to endure.
The fact that Ethiopia has been in transition for years, the homework for the government in its anti-COVID efforts has been arduous.
It was also a year that saw a huge mobilization of the public in various sectors. People extended support to the less privileged. They raise funds to support the disadvantaged, they gave away their property such as apartments; they decreased rents. It was a period during which we were able to rediscover our human face. A sense of solidarity was observed everywhere.
In another front it was a year when Ethiopia reasserted its rights on the Nile, by harnessing water in the GERD, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. At the same time, following such momentum more funds were raised for the completion of the project.
The awakening on the GERD has increased as Egypt's obstinate resistance never seemed to stem down. The back and forth in the negotiation on the issue of the water division remained a pivotal issue in the negotiation. Ethiopia of course does not accept any division of the water on a permanent basis as it insists to conserve its natural and sovereign rights within the bounds of international law and practice.
Almost at the end of the year however a major game changer happened in Ethiopian internal politics: an event that will definitely have radical consequences
on the very make-up of the country. It was on the 4th of November that the TPLF leadership attacked the Northern Military Command of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces. It was the most unexpected of events and this led to a major counteroffensive ordered by the prime minister commander in chief of the armed forces.
The Ethiopian government took the action recognizing the tremendous danger on the integrity and sovereignty of the nation. Restoring the constitutional order was crucial and a campaign of three weeks ended on November 28 with the liberation of Mekele from the grasp of the TPLF junta that had launched the treacherous assault.
The TPLF leadership's plan to disintegrate the country had failed miserably. The government is now engaged in the rehabilitation efforts of the regional state and taking to account those responsible for the attack.
The commander in chief of the armed forces led the campaign in an earnest and scientific manner resisting the international pressure to negotiate with the TPLF.
He rejected every attempt of interference in the internal affairs of the country and managed to convince the international community dismissing the narratives of some TPLF elements on social media. The campaign had been erroneously presented by some international media outlets, but later on the image of the country was restored to a more positive one.
The TPLF propaganda machine had been orchestrating that it was engaged in a legal and moral fight for its survival. However rejecting every negotiation and resorting to attacks against the defence forces in the most heinous of manners was enough to discredit it and condemn its actions.
The international community was also made aware of these circumstances when the government launched extensive diplomatic missions.
2020 hence has resulted to be pivotal in the political landscape of the country. However, it was a year that caused the country some anguish due to some extremist elements' attacks in the communal lives of various people of different ethnic origin.
TPLF sponsored attacks were carried out but the authorities have been trying to foil them. Certain reports of assaults on innocent individuals on account of their identity have been distressing. Hopefully these actions will wither away with the unmaking of the TPLF extremist leadership.
Meanwhile, the challenges of reconstructing what has been damaged during the law enforcement campaign and creating confidence and stability in the Tigray regional state will be a hard homework for the government.
The Gregorian year 2021 will hopefully bring about more positive news as the country moves towards an eventful election and the stability of the country progresses well without the disturbing influence of the TPLF extremist leadership.