OP-ED: Understanding Abiy Ahmed’s Mind: The Red Sea, The Indian Ocean & Maybe Alaska too


If you can comprehend the mindset of patient A, you wouldn’t be concerned about a hypothetical space war. A person who intends to fight would not reveal their plans beforehand, as it would ruin the element of surprise.

If you want to know why, please read the evidence below.

My own Eurka moment

It took me three years to comprehend the mind of Abiy Ahmed. It was by chance that I struck up a conversation with a psychiatrist who also happened to closely observe Abiy. I still remember where I sat and the richest in my hand.

I was explaining to him why I found it challenging to comprehend Abiy. I was perplexed as to why Abiy waged war on people who supported him and, in most cases, worshiped him as a messiah, like Moses who led the Israelites through the desert.

The doctor made a brief remark, asking me if I had ever considered that Abiy could be suffering from a psychological disorder. This had never crossed my mind, and I asked what kind of disorder makes you deny empathy for death and suffering.

In a way. This struck me hard because it was the second time I had heard this remark. The first time was from someone who had worked with Abiy in INSA. The person said that Abiy is a village boy who suffers from some form of inferiority complex and that to cover up this feeling, he had to do outrageous things to be seen as confident, sophisticated, and knowledgeable. This was a few months after Abiy came to power, and I had no ears to listen to a friend because I was a fan of Abiy.

When the doctor mentioned Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I went to Google and started reading about it. Then I realized that Abiy met all the 9 disorders mentioned in the Psychiatric Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Those behaviors are:

1. A grandiose sense of self-importance

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, or beauty

3. Belief that they are special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions

4. Need for excessive admiration

5. Sense of entitlement

6.  exploitative behavior

7. Lack of empathy

8. Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of them

9. Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Since then, I have not only understood why Abiy is doing something, but I can also predict what he will do next. Abiy needs admiration and has to be at the center of attention all the time. He has to be seen as an all-knowing, all-seeing leader.

His former employee said Abiy can’t keep quiet or sit still for 30 minutes. Within a close circle of Abiy, they say that he has never read a 50-page book in his life. He is a kind of compulsive person who might read the first page and jump to the last page to check whether the character is dead or alive.

All his knowledge comes from listening to others and YouTube. Then he can talk about a subject he cannot understand to impress others

Understanding Abiy’s Red Sea hallucination

I watch Ethiopian TV on YouTube and there is a comedy show in a Caffe called ምን ልታዘዝ (what can I get you). This program makes fun of everything every week. It is a kind of program for the young and interested in subtle political satire. The last joke was about a cafe waiter making tea using water left in a Jerry Can. Then he begins to hallucinate and starts having a vision of a Sea. And the other waiters come to see his former boss hallucinating. One asked him whether he made the tea using the water in the Jerrycan.  He said the water from the Red Sea wasn’t meant to make tea.  So it was a harmless joke where the cafe owner had a vision of the sea.

This clip was copied by TikTok to be viral and then picked by opposition YouTube Ethio360 who made politics out of it. Since the politicians watch Echo360 they immediately send the security force to raid the production studio. Likely this brilliant satair writer Behailu Wage ዋጄ wasn’t at the studio. Now the social media talk ዋጄ,  the writer is on the run from a government that doesn’t understand a  joke despite Abiy’s pretense to be a modern leader who plays football with kids and is funny, claims to score 9 goals and contributes to another 3 goals to win eleven to zero. He trashed the school kids and Ethiopia TV had to make a news report as an amazing success story of Abiy. 

Coming to the point the Red Sea talk is part of this attention-seeking behavior.

Colonel Abiy had talked about gushing oil in Ogaden in the first month of his power. Where is that oil now? He had claimed the rain in northern Shoa as his weather manipulation technology, and everyone cheered him on as rainman. Since that photo shoot, there has been a drought where millions of cattle died in Borena and now in Tigray. Where is Abiy’s rain technology?

He had talked about a satellite he launched and made it seem like we were getting into the space race. Now we hear the satellite bought from China is no longer working.

I wouldn’t mind Abiy talking about his grandiose delusion of the Red Sea, but we understand all these are fantasies produced by his NPD algorithm.

Next week Col Abiy will not remember whether he had talked about the Red Sea. He would move to another attention-seeking stunt.

So what I want to say to Ethiopians is that they should read about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and then they can read Abiy’s mind like an open book. Therefore, Ethiopians and Eritreans, please do not waste your time analyzing, dissecting, and scrutinizing his moves and speeches.

The Truth in the Mind of Abiy

Colonel Abiy seems to be scared and has lost the support of the people. You can see that from his actions, not from his words.

He invited his Republican guards, also known as the “red bonnets,” for dinner and had to go row after row hugging the soldiers. He knows he has lost everyone and the Republican guards are his last escape tools. He thinks he is smart and wants to present himself as if he loves them. This is what the explorative behavior of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) sufferers looks like. Everyone knows what Abiy did to Lemma Megersa

Lemma was supposed to be the PM but Abiy fell at Lemma’s feet to beg him to take the power for only two years until the election so that Lemma could be elected to the Federal Parliament and become an elected Prime Minister. All of Lemma’s friends told him not to fall for this con artist’s trick. Unfortunately, Lemma was too naive to say OK and lifted Abiy from his feet to hug him as a brother.

NPD sufferers do not have empathy.  Hence, Abiy wasn’t hesitant to humiliate Lemma Megersa by dismissing him from his Defense Minister position to make him a nonperson.

The other thing the public needs to pay attention to is what he is doing, not what he says. I saw the real Abiy retreating to his province to Jimma as the only place he could run and hide.

Now realizing his loss of public support and having no place to run he went back to Jimma. He knows he can’t run to Wellega because they will hang him on a tree. He cannot run to Harar of Arsi if his exit plan to Dubai is blocked.

So the real Abiy is not the one who is talking about the Red Sea but the one who is preoccupied with the loyalty of his palace guards and his hometown who would welcome him if he had to run.

Apologize for the long article but it is important to check Abiy’s behavior against all NPD symptoms.

 Everyone knows that Abiy suffers from” a grandiose sense of self-importance”,  so he wants to be seen as someone interested in restoring Ethiopia to its past glory. Another example is the first thing he did was to be seen as a friend of the UAE’s Prince. He called him “his brother.” I am not sure if this relationship claim is on his mother’s or father’s side, but it is a sign of grandiosity and self-importance and lacks all the diplomatic norms.
As DSM 5 shows, Abiy seems to suffer from a preoccupation with “fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, or beauty.” That is why he thinks planting flowers on Bole Road is to be seen as saving the planet. That is why he wants to build the biggest palace that no other king has built while 20 million people are waiting for food aid.

Abiy believes he is “ special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions” As he said himself the 120 million Ethiopians cannot understand him.

Abiy seems to need excessive admiration. That is why Abiy filled all government positions with his fan club. In the heat of Abiy’s popularity, one guy who wanted to cash in on the popularity wrote a book called “ሰውዬው” (“The Man”) as his admiration for Abiy to feed his addiction to ጫት Chate. Before the guy could collect his money from booksellers, he was told he was appointed as the head of Ethiopian TV. Abiy doesn’t want anyone who pretends to be his student and laughs at his jokes. On one occasion, Abiy was making jokes about Berhanu’s ethnic group (የብርሀኑ ዘመዶች እያለ ነው የሚቀልደው: በገራጌ ቀልድ)  and made everyone laugh, forcing Dr. Berhanu Nega to laugh at racist jokes. Everyone standing in front of Abiy must depreciate himself. No one stays in power by pointing out Abiy’s mistakes or correcting his mistakes.

As shown in the DSM-5 book, Abiy has a “sense of entitlement.” Abiy draws his sense of entitlement from his mother’s black magic ability to predict his future and from God when it is convenient, as well as from his ethnic group, even though he is not an Oromo in all measures.

Abiy is exploitative and a master of exploitative behavior. He exploited Lemma, but above all, Abiy exploited General Samora, Meles Zenawi, and the TPLF. Abiy dropped out of school in grade 7 to become a soldier and army radio operator. He has no academic requirements to be an officer. The young Abiy realized that TPLF is a tribalist organization and the way to exploit them is to speak their Tigrigna language. So he made an effort to speak in their language instead of completing his school to be an officer. He exploited TPLF’s primordial mind, which reacts with love when it hears words in their Tigrigna. A. Oromo radio operator speaking Tigrigna is like winning a DV lottery to immigrate to the heart of group TPLF officers, General Samora and Meles.

He became a colonel without going to school to be an officer by passing all Oromo and Tigrean Officers who spent all their life in the struggle and the Army. Did he take part in a battle no. Was he a battlefield hero, no. Did he show excellence in military science, no. So, what did he do to deserve a promotion to Colonel? Yes, he spoke  Tigrigna while he was carrying a radio for Tigray officers. His NPD gave him all the tools to crack open the tribalist's mind.  They loved him, joked with him in Tigrigna, and when Meles wants an Oromo for quota he always picks Tigrigna-speaking Oromigna like Demelash the head of Federal Police, and Dr. Workeneh Gebeyehu, a Federal Police Chief and later a Foreign Minister who pretends to be an Oromo. 

Abiy is talented and I can’t deny his ability to exploit anyone. Whether one is a peasant farmer in Chilga or a Crown Prince, he can play rings around them until he gets what he wants. No one has ever exploited 110 million people, including me, for three years.

Abiy and people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are often characterized by a “lack of empathy”. Abiy is described as being indifferent to the suffering of others, even in the face of death or tears. When millions of people Gedio claimed they were being ethnically cleansed after he came to power, his response was “Don’t worry, you will return when I leave office” with a smile on his face.

When young and old people were massacred in Wollega and he was asked to intervene, he said he would plant trees as a shade for their graves.

Abiy has shown no empathy towards the army, fatherless children, or widows. He gave medals to Sessay Agena, Getachew Reda, and Tsadkan but did not provide school bags to children who lost their fathers or condominiums to widows of his war. It appears that he only does things that feed his grandiose ambition or that allow him to exploit his next victims.

When Abiy puts a ring on your finger, it does not mean you are married to him. He is grooming you to exploit you. Even Issayas Afeworki, who claimed to be a suspicious recluse leader, failed due to the exploitative behavior of Abiy. If there were an Olympics for this category, Abiy would be the undisputed king of the game. Even the Nobel committee was beaten by Abiy’s master game.

Abiy has been accused of displaying “envy of others”. He is known to be reluctant to recognize the achievements of his government officials. For instance, Dr. Seleshi, the Minister of Water and Energy, made a compelling argument in defense of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at the UN Security Council. Soon after, Dr. Seleshi was showered with praise by the public and media. Abiy became envious and removed him from his position.

However, when the public protested, Abiy sent him to Washington as an ambassador. Dr. Seleshi is a water engineer and scholar who has spent his entire life studying the Nile. He has no diplomatic skills or personality to understand the complexity of Washington. But for Abiy, nothing matters. He was jealous of Dr. Seleshi’s success but when the public noticed his behavior, Abiy pretended to be planning to promote him and then sent him to DC where he couldn’t outshine him.

Dr. Getahun, who was the Minister of Innovation, was another victim of Abiy’s envy. Dr. Getahun is a German graduate with an electrical engineering background and many years of teaching, research, and innovation experience. As soon as he became a minister, he came up with a brilliant idea called “2:2:22”. It aims to create 200,000 technology jobs and generate 2 billion USD in income from technology exports by 2022. He captured headlines and was everywhere helping technology innovators, organizing innovation competitions, and reforming legal obstacles for technology startups.

Abiy claims to have created an Innovation Ministry but does not want any other name associated with this organization. So he removed Dr. Getahun first as Minister of Education and finally made him a non-person. According to his students, Dr. Getahun is a modern man who is well-educated from an Oromo background. Ticking all these boxes did not save him from Abiy’s envy. Now the Minister of Innovation is given to MENA defector Ato Belete Molla. Belete graduated from the philosophy department and has no clue what binary means or what blockchain is. If Abiy wanted Belete to make an impact, he could have made him something related to social or political affairs where Belete could quote Homer or Machiavelli. Belete doesn’t mind as long as he lives in a villa provided with bodyguards and a V8 land Cruiser.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are often characterized by arrogance. Abiy is a good example.  To see this, one can observe how he speaks to his ministers and party officials. His contempt for his party officials and generals is palpable. No one talks to their kids or maid like he talks to his party officials and generals. He seems to have forgotten that it was the party that elected him to be the leader, and they have the right to remove him and elect a new leader. Abiy, with NPD disorder, has already convinced them that they are his servants, not his masters who put him in power.

I understand that this article is long, but it is a complex theory that cannot be explained in a shorter article.

For those of you who managed to read it all, feel free to understand how simple it is to understand and predict Abiy’s actions.

In short, there would not be a war with Eritrea, and Abiy wouldn’t even remember that he had talked about the Red Sea by Christmas.

So don’t worry. Those who wage a war will make it a surprise. Abiy is talking to feed his compulsive disorder. Take it easy and enjoy your life.

By the way, to be diagnosed with NPD, an individual must exhibit at least five of these criteria. However, Abiy scores 100% on all nine tests ⁹. You can verify this information by searching online.

Author: Rasselas Weldemariam


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Garowe Online's editorial stance.

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