The Rise and Fall of Jawar Mohammed


Koki Abesolome 

The Oromo people had legitimate political and historical grievances. Sadly, they were unable to organize a political party that could articulated their grievances and formulate a clear vision with a winning strategy. The OLF was led by individuals who were busy fabricating false narratives and marrying it with a self-defeating, if not embarrassing, juvenile politics. The OPDO was under the clutches of TPLF.

The worsening grievance under TPLF, the absence of an effective Oromo political organization, and the growing youth population created the perfect storm for an Oromo demagogue.

Jawar Mohammed emerged and filled the gap. He was unscrupulous, articulate, and a tactician of Meles Zenawi’s caliber. He mesmerized the Oromo youth, enraging it with brilliant demagogy one minute and calming it down to wait for further instruction the next moment.

Qerro became the institutional voice and face of the Oromo grievance and demand for change. The Qerro energy led to the emergence of Fanno in Amhara tribal homeland. Though nervous about Fanno, Jawar leveraged it to weaken TPLF. TPLF was watching its undoing in a slow motion. It was outwitted and outmaneuvered by Jawar at every turn.

To say that Jawar single-handedly reduced TPLF into a sitting duck ripe for the picking may be an overstatement to some degree, but it would not be a hyperbole.


Lemma Megersa went to the Amhara tribal land and declared እትዮጵያዊነት ሱስ ነው. This perturbed the Qerro and Fanno sentiment of rebellion, and pulled the rug from under the theology of tribal hymns. We said Hallelujah!

Soon After Abiy emerged as a nationalist leader, throwing TPLF into a disarray and exiling it into political oblivion. As I have noted in my “From ኡኡታ to እልልታ” blog, “Ethiopia gave birth to [Abiy] out of pain, with a cacophony of ኡኡታ. She await to be born out of [him] with a symphony of እልልታ… Let the እምቢልታ trumpet and the እልልታ echo from the top of Ethiopian majestic mountains to the underbelly of her deepest gorges.”

We said God is Almighty and the Almighty is Mighty Great! Our souls danced with ecstasy and our spirits soared even higher!

With two Oromos (Abiy and Lemma) at the helm of the Ethiopian and Oromo political landscapes, Jawar’s rhetorical empire was stripped of its magical wand. Ethiopia’s political contour coalesced toward a nationalist agenda, weakening his political base.

Jawar had a chance to embrace the change and continue his influence over the Qerro movement. Instead, he tried to share the political throne with the Abiy Administration to steer the agenda to “Finfine” politics. He claimed without a trace of shame or inhibition “We have two governments in Ethiopia. Abiy’s government and Qerro government.”

But the Abiy government and the Qerro government as Jawar envisioned it could not live in harmony, much less share a throne. The one led by Abiy is inherently a nationalist government. The other led by Jawar is tribalist anchored in Finfine politics. For those who wonder what Finfine politics is, it is a whitewashed version of the “greater Oromia” politics of OLF.

What Jawar failed to understand was that the Qerro movement before and after TPLF’s reign of terror was fundamentally different. His brilliant demagogy that brought TPLF to its knees is utterly useless in today’s Ethiopian politics. EPRDF under the clutches of TPLF lacked legitimacy and strategy. EPRDF under Abiy is a sophisticated political machinery and a strike of genius.

In a June blog, I wrote “It may be a bit too early or maybe even presumptuous to say PM Abiy is a political genius or an unparalleled strategist, much less a philosopher. But it is hard to silence the alluring question that is racing through my mind: Is this guy a political genius, or maybe even a philosopher?”

Those of you who know me know that I don’t have it in me to brag. But I think the alluring murmur in my head proved to be a loud siren that kept getting louder.

The Appointment of Takele Umma was a genius move to desensitize and de-energize and ultimately deflate the Finfine Politics.

As I wondered in a July blog, “Does the brouhaha class believe the Prime Minister appointed Takele Umma as a Mayor of Addis Ababa because he is an Oromo fundamentalist or because he is a part of the OPDO drivers of change who is behind team Abiy and Lemma?” The answer is clear in the picture shown below.

Another genius move is the appointment of Bertukan Mideksa. She is genuinely Ethiopian, proudly Oromo and unapologetically nationalist. This is driving Jawar and TPLF off the wall.

Jawar has gone as far as claiming her appointment as the head of the elections board will lead to a civil war. His new-found TPLF political partners are echoing his siren. One of TPLF’s high-profile propogandist, ሠይፈስላሴ ገበረመስቀል ጓንጉል, wrote on his FB page:

ብርቱካን በልቼ ሎሚ ሎሚ አግሳኝ፣
አንቺ እንደምን አለሽ እኔን ጤና ነሳኝ።

Indeed, the tribal camp has taken refuge in the hinterland of “ጤና ነሳኝ”.

Jawar’s current temper tantrum is nothing more than a flipping and flapping of a fish that has been washed out out of the ocean and left on a scorching sand. It is an Omen for the end of Finfine politics.

Unbeknownst to many of us, our Thanksgiving has been going on for some time. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


  1. Interesting about the machinations of politics in Ethiopia. What is missing is the great powers who pill the strings from abroad. The have all the players lined up for the next round of drama.

  2. You are a political genious to put together, every line with hot button and trending steadly showing the raise and downfall of jawar and and saround him with their finfine politics. Exactly where the trend crosses between jawar and dr abiy cannot tell but surly Dr Abiy trending to reach the peak. Where as jawar is reaching to the buttom and crashing point. Everything he is doing now is to change or slowdown the fast pace raising trend of acceptance dr abiy and as you put it, jawar and his crew of finfine are done and soon will see dissappear from the face of our politics. It’s no wonder Dawud Ybssa trying to play the game of his gun obsession where deep inside he knew a country cannot have to forces and try to use it as a bargaining coin but a dangerious one.
    Even the finfine theorists are on their sort of last meal because the history of addis, formerly called “Berera” is challenging their falsehood.
    I’m really entertaining by the unfolding truth in ethiopia and due time panishing perpetrators and those who stood in defiance.
    Thanks again the very thoughtful article

  3. You are putting your idea as Jawar loss every thing and sliding down to the the bottom. But the reality on the ground is not what you have mentioned on the above articles. Our hero Jawar has been doing what he want to do at any junction point closed every battle with honorably. How could you compare Dr Abiy with Jawar? They are both a coins of different face if you are eager to divide us using this as opportunity (what you have mentioned in the article) please such disagreement is political game. Don’t be folly the only thing you have to do is just refrain your self from narrating on what you have no idea about the issue. And just stop gambling with Jawar, he is distant from where you are by all angel!!!!!

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