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There is only one TPLF

By Berhane Kahsay
Feb. 14, 2012

TPLF Fighter from Tigrai on watch - Tigrai OnlineVery soon, supporters and friends of the TPLF around the globe will colourfully celebrate its 37th birthday. From a humble beginning in the desolate part of Dedebit to managing the affairs of 80 million people in a short period of time is simply phenomenal. There were other ‘multinational’ and national movements that came into existence at the same juncture as the TPLF, but they have not fared well at all.

Ras Mengesha Seyoum’s Ethiopian Democratic Union (EDU) was one of them, and this reactionary organization was backed and handled by the West. The TPLF had numerous battles with EDU, and lost many of its best fighters including Musse and Suhel. Thanks to the sheer determination, mental strength and perseverance of its rank and file members, and the support of the local people, the young organization was saved from the brink of extinction. Over a prolonged period, the TPLF mowed down the EDU piece by piece and eventually chased the remnants out of Western Tigray and all the way to the Sudanese border. Ras Mengesha licked his wounds and made his way to the US where he has been leading a comfortable life ever since.

Soon after the TPLF finished off the EDU, its other peer, the EPRA, which had its base in Assimba, began posturing for a fight. Animosity was brewing between the two for a long time, and the EPRA decided to attack before the TPLF had time to regroup and recover from the bloody and costly battles it had with the EDU. EPRA made a fatal error! In a matter of days, its entire ‘army’ was routed and some of the survivors sought refuge in Eritrea and Sudan, and some joined the Derg. The EPRA was a well financed outfit as it had a huge support in Europe and the US, but failed to with stand the onslaught of the confident and battle hardened TPLF fighters. The TPLF scored its second historic victory resulting in the liberation of Assimba, and its people welcomed it with open arms. Trying to buy the loyalty of the local people using the hard currency that was flowing from the West was not a wise move at all. The people could see the sincerity, dedication and self reliance of the TPLF, and the readiness of it combatants to pay with their lives to liberate their own people. No wonder it didn’t take them long to embrace the TPLF, and be part and parcel of the struggle to discard the lethal military government that was led by semi literate army corporals.

What the TPLF discovered in the abandoned EPRA camp was very gruesome indeed; young fighters who joined from distant parts of Ethiopia were cold bloodedly murdered by their leaders just before the evacuation for ‘belonging’ to a clandestine faction (anja). EPRA was controlled and managed by the EPRP from Addis Ababa, and soon after the demise of its armed wing, the EPRP was also comprehensively defeated by the Derg. Leaders of the EPRP, who caused the deaths of thousands of young people in Addis Ababa and elsewhere, made their ways to Europe and the US to commence a new life. The EPRP is now a shadow of its former self, and to make matters worse, there are numerous splinter groups trying to outwit each other from their comfort zones in the West. The various EPRP factions are simply in politics to settle old scores with TPLF and nothing else; they are still hurting from the bloody good hiding they received over three decades ago.       

The OLF is also as old as the TPLF and the two worked very closely for many years. Unfortunately, it committed a similar error as the EPRA culminating in serious divisions within the organization. One faction is financed and controlled by Esayass, and is for cession, the other, which is the creation of Dr Berhanu is against separation. Both are devoid of the support of the Oromo people and it is for this reason that they are in such a predicament.  Oromia is doing extremely well under the current federal system, and neither of the factions would be able to execute the ‘agendas’ of their masters. The best these splinter groups could do is free themselves from the clutches of Esayass and Dr Berhanu, and join the political parties that are freely functioning in Ethiopia today. Otherwise, many more impotent and toothless factions would come into being. The ELF that unwisely picked a fight with the TPLF and was sent packing with its tail between its legs is a classic example of what destructive factional politics could do to an organization that once controlled large parts of lowland Eritrea.

Ethiopia is registering tremendous economic growth as testified by The Economist, the World Bank and other international institutions. While the TPLF and its partners are engaged in building Ethiopia from the scratch, its old adversaries are completely marginalized and their numerous calls for an uprising are falling on deaf ears. Out of sheer desperation they are conniving with the enemies of their country to scupper the Ethiopian government’s resolute efforts to defeat poverty. The OLF, EPRP, ELF, EPLF, Kinijt and Ginbot -7  have utterly failed in their endeavors-- why is the TPLF which was born 37 years ago is still going strong barring minor hiccups here and there, where as all the other organization that came into being at the same time as the TPLF  have fallen by the way side ?

Happy 37th birthday to the TPLF!

Eternal glory to our martyrs!

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