The Controversial Rise of Abiy Ahmed: His Past Ties to the EPRDF and His Ulterior Motives against the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church.

By Habtamu Kebede: As Abiy Ahmed rose to power, he consistently acknowledged the atrocities committed against the people of Ethiopia by the ruling group with which he has been associated since his teenage years. He has presented himself as a candid individual and openly admitted to joining the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) as a teenager, despite the group’s history of human rights abuses and oppressive policies. However, he has also recognized that at the time, he lacked the ability to fully comprehend and differentiate between the consequences of his involvement with the EPRDF.

Abiy expressed regret and appealed for forgiveness and a second chance. This was how he managed to gain the trust and support of many unsuspecting people. is not a new player in the current political landscape. After twenty-seven years under the rule of the Tigrian People Liberation Front (TPLF)-led EPRDF, it became evident that the TPLF was widely unpopular among the majority of Ethiopians. Despite receiving support from their western allies and partners, they were unable to maintain their hold on power. As a result, they began grooming alternative candidates, ultimately resulting in the selection of Abiy Ahmed as the successor to their system. This statement is not intended to downplay or underestimate the roles of foreign actors, as Abiy was specifically selected and trained by recognized foreign powers. In fact, Sebehat Nega, one of the founders of TPLF, has previously stated that Abiy was handpicked by an “American diplomat who appears Chinese.” Nevertheless, this change in leadership was not intended to result in any significant shifts in policy or direction for the governing body.

After being inaugurated as the new prime minister at a meeting of the “House of Representatives”, Abiy Ahmed and his close associate at the time, Lema Megerssa, traveled to the United States to garner support from the diaspora community for their emerging regime. Their efforts proved successful, as they were able to mobilize a large number of unsuspecting and innocent supporters in Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. The crowd was extremely enthusiastic and not only welcomed them, but some members even went as far as offering prayers and kissing Abiy Ahmed’s feet to show their support.

As is well known, the TPLF not only interfered in religious affairs, but also flagrantly disregarded the bylaws (Kenona) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church. This included appointing their own illegitimate patriarch after forcibly exiling the legitimate Patriarch, the late Abune Merkerious. As a result, the church was divided for over two decades into two opposing factions, with neither the TPLF-appointed patriarch nor the legitimate patriarch’s followers recognizing the legitimacy of the other.

Abiy Ahmed had firsthand knowledge of the church’s division due to his involvement in the oppressive TPLF led regime. As a former minister and head of the state’s intelligence service agency, he shares responsibility for the crimes committed against the Ethiopian people. Acquiring counsel from influential figures, such as the late Kassa Kebede, Abiy was determined to reconcile the divided church groups and unify the Holy Synod in order to serve his hidden agenda. However, his efforts were short-lived as his true identity was eventually revealed.

Abiy Ahmed skillfully concealed his true political agenda, leaving his unsuspecting supporters on the edge of their seats in a state of euphoria, unaware of the true motives behind his actions. He was praised by leaders of various religious groups for his rhetoric and pledges to establish a fair system of governance that would uphold human rights, promote equality, and ensure justice. Abiy condemned his former colleagues and pretended that he had distanced himself from their criminal activities, as if he was immune from the harm they caused to the people.

Although Abiy Ahmed did not initiate the negotiations between the two separated groups of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, he successfully persuaded the late legitimate patriarch, Abune Merkorious, and several other high-ranking clergy members to return to Ethiopia with him. This was made possible with the support of many other prominent Ethiopians, which greatly contributed to his rising popularity among the general public.

Shortly after, some clergy began to compare him to Moses, a revered figure in the Holy Bible known for his leadership and guidance of the Israelites. Some even go as far as categorizing those who try to voice their opinions as evildoers and unbelievers. The church officially recognized his role and presented him and his wife with a beautifully crafted gold-plated Bible and a traditional cloak, a ceremonial outerwear worn by high-ranking government officials and clergy members.

After returning to Ethiopia, the late patriarch, Abune Merkerious, the legitimate leader of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was rarely seen in public. Although he was visited by Abiy Ahmed, he seemed to disappear from public view afterwards. The few times he did appear on television, he appeared reserved and unhappy. Shortly after, he became very ill and eventually passed away. Despite his quiet demeanor and dedication to fasting and prayer, his sadness and grief were clearly visible on his face.

As a proponent of the prosperity gospel and a deceptive political figure, Abiy Ahmed is well aware that gaining control of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) would give him significant influence over its estimated seventy million members. He has used his connections to manipulate the majority of the population, while also benefiting from these ties. However, he has also been operating a rogue paramilitary group that operates outside of government oversight and has been responsible for targeting churches and religious leaders across the country. As a result, numerous churches and monasteries have been destroyed and religious services have been disrupted, particularly in the Oromia region.

Abiy Ahmed also used his unfettered access to the church to allure specific high-ranking clergy members who willingly compromised the core values of the divine church. He provided them with a platform to organize along ethnic lines, contradicting the church’s teachings. Some of these clergy appeared on Prime Television, a station owned and operated by Abiy Ahmed and his close associates.

One of the clergymen who participated in the recent nationally televised meeting with Abiy Ahmed praised the regime’s accomplishments and openly inquired about the prime minister’s well-being. While his concern for the prime minister’s health was evident, his body language and choice of words were not only embarrassing, but also disrespectful to the faithful and those who have suffered under Abiy Ahmed’s regime. Another bishop unashamedly disregarded the widely known truth and stated that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has never had better times in its history than under his administration.

The million dollar question is: why is Abiy Ahmed so antagonistic towards the EOTC? The answer is that Abiy Ahmed harbors a deep hatred towards Ethiopia, and the EOTC is the largest organized religion that firmly believes in not only the Holy Trinity and the Gospel, but also in the national unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. This belief goes against Abiy Ahmed’s venomous and divisive ideology, which are deeply rooted.

Abiy Ahmed has managed to create rift among high ranking clergy and has gained control over them. There are reports that some of the clergy are involved in espionage against their fellow clergy members. Instead of fulfilling their sacred duties, they have become increasingly involved in politics . Abiy Ahmed uses them as pawns against those faithfully serving the church and its believers. Abiy is pushing an agenda for each region to have its own independent synod in order to weaken the church and diminish its influence. That was in part why His Eminence, Abune Petrose, was prohibited from entering Ethiopia despite having all the necessary legal documents.

After examining the relationship between the TPLF, Abiy Ahmed’s prosperity gospel, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, it is crucial to acknowledge the fundamental distinctions between the two. The TPLF’s main objective was to maintain control over the church by appointing members who were loyal to the party. In contrast, the current regime under Abiy Ahmed seems to be driven by a goal to diminish the church’s influence and potentially eliminate it entirely. During a recent meeting with religious elders, Abiy explicitly stated his intention to address the centuries-old prayer practices of religious institutions. He expressed concern that these practices are disrupting the peace and causing sleep deprivation. It is evident that Abiy is overly focused on the potential negative effects of these practices and has indicated his intention to find a solution, whatever it may be.

There is no doubt that Abiy Ahmed has a sinister agenda to weaken and diminish the influence of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. In fact, his ultimate goal is to eradicate the Orthodox Church and replace it with his own version of the prosperity gospel. As faithful believers, we must ask ourselves whether we should allow him to do so. How can we address his actions and prevent him from undermining the church and causing harm to our country? Will we rise up and take action to protect and defend our sacred values and our country, which has existed for centuries?