Rotten and Fractured Beyond Repair EPRDF no More: Strategic Emergency Exit for TPLF Part II
By Mogos Abraham, PhD
Centre for Middle Eastern Studies
Tigrai Online, Nov. 25, 2018
Tigrai D. President Dr Debretsion Gebremichael spoke from the heart and expressed the wish of the Tigrai people.
Some extensions to backup M Gettaw’s “A call for action: TPLF should give an ultimatum to EPRDF and the FDRE government sooner than later!”
Imperatives of Timing
With some extensions on my original piece of 19 Jul. 2018 (Part I), this piece (Part II) is intended to support the well-articulated justifications of M Gettaw. Time heals time kills: there is strategic time for every action humans take. It was a strategic decision of the Tigrai Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) that led to the creation of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). After liberating Tigrai from the savagery of Mengistu Hailemaraim’s military junta, the Derg, TPLF decided to liberate the whole Ethiopia. To that end, the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO), the Southern Ethiopia Peoples’ Democratic Movement (SEPDM), and the TPLF forged a coalition called EPRDF. As the name implies, EPRDF is a “liberation front” formed to defeat the enemy, the Derg. The marriage of expediency succeeded in destroying the largest mechanized army black Africa had ever seen, thanks to the strategic prowess of TPLF. This is the bitter pill of truth the detractors of TPLF, such as Gedu Andargachew, Demeke Mekonen, Abiy Ahmed, Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea, & Cos. hate to swallow.
However, the miraculous social, economic, and political achievements of modern Ethiopia demonstrate the farsightedness of the then TPLF leadership, headed by Meles Zenawi, the most brilliant leader Africa had ever had. Meles chaired the EPRDF until his sudden death. EPRDF built the modern Ethiopia we are witnessing out of the tragic ashes of civil wars, drought, famine, starvation, hunger, and dysfunctional governance systems of the Imperial and the military rule eras. Now, it is time to change course. There is time for everything. EPRDF no more! It has killed itself.
Dangers of Betrayal and Ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture. Ethnocentric individuals judge other groups, nations, nationalities, and peoples relative to their own ethnic group or culture, especially regarding norms, values, language, behavior, customs, religion, and all sorts of social, economic, and political human attributes.
Consequences of ethnocentrism, which reveals immature political tendencies, are disastrous. Read for example, the manifesto of the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), which was founded on 10 June 2018 in Bahir-Dar, the capital city of the Amhara Regional State. NaMA is an extremely dangerous organization. It disparages (demeans) TPLF’s contributions to Ethiopia’s modernization. It does not recognize EPRDF as a legitimate government. It has declared ANDM as an agent of TPLF.
Moreover, the rally of the Amhara chauvinists in Bahir-Dar has demonstrated powerlessness or apathy of the EPRDF as a governing body. The prevailing socio-political climate makes existence of an EPRDF government questionable seriously. On 30 June 2018, the Amhara extremist elements held a massive rally in Bahir-Dar, waving illegal flag of the Imperial era. One of the laughable acts was watching a helicopter flying over the huge crowd, bearing the Imperial flag, as if the event was a declaration of victory won at battlefields, which the cowards cannot do. Another laughable scene was an Eritrean flag tied to the Imperial flag. A combination of the two flags was being waved high to the skies! Why? And, the way Demeke Mekonnen and Gedu Andargachew was so childish, reflecting political immaturity. They were the keynote speakers. Everything they read so loud was against TPLF, by extension betraying the people of Tigrai. Both of these men are members of the current government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the EPRDF government. Their speeches were highly charged-full of bravados, “we the Amharas!” Their actions are national treason, because they violated the rules enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution. As members of the governing body, the EPRDF, they were expected respected to uphold primacy of the rule of law in accordance with the Constitution. Taking immediate legal actions against these running dogs of a tragic civil war was a national imperative. The Ethiopian Parliament must summon (call upon) Abiy Ahmed to explain the well-orchestrated rally that violated primacy of the rule of law.
Abiy Ahmed is an accidental Prime Minister (PM). When the Deputy PM, Demeke Mekonnen, withdrew his candidacy to the position, Lema Megersa and others facilitated ascendency of Abiy to the PM’s position. Thus, Abiy’s current position remains an accidental, because he did not go through the electoral processes of the FDRE. A Protestant Reformist Preacher, Abiy Ahmed, is determined to marginalize TPLF. This is an ultimate betrayal. But, he better play his cards carefully.
In many occasions, I observed Abiy Ahmed pleasing his close strategic mentor, Isaias Afeworki, by demeaning the victories scored by the heroes and heroines of TPLF. Knowing very well that it is the TPLF leadership that brought the demise of Mengistur Hailemariam, the butcher of human beings, the Protestant Reformist Preacher continues to dehumanize TPLF. Moreover, the ANDM and SEPDM have become politically irrelevant. Thus, it is time for TPLF to exit the bounds of the EPRDF. The narrow nationalists, egoistic individuals, and chauvinists are colluding to destroy TPLF. To fulfill their wish, which is a wish against wish, Abiy Ahmed and Isaias have designed a strategy that will result in demise of the TPLF. However, this is a dream that will never be realized.
Closely working with Isaias Afeworki, Abiy Ahmed is a messenger of external forces hired to eliminate TPLF from the landscape of Tigrai (a wild dream!) There is mounting evidence that Abiy continues to be groomed by CIA, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to destroy the unique Ethiopian federalism in order to build a neoliberal-market-based economy that can be ruled by American and European multinational corporations. Consequently, Ethiopia is now in an absolute state of anarchy: (i) similar to that of Rwandan Genocide, citizens are slaughtering one another; (b) Ethiopia has become number one globally in terms of internally displaced peoples (IDPs) –untold human misery in one’s own country, a country being destroyed by civil conflicts under watchful eyes of Abiy Ahmed’s Government; (iii) all macroeconomic metrics demonstrate that the national economy is in tatters, going down to the trough of depression, a dangerous deep hole; (iv) unemployment rate of the productive workforce, the youth, has become so rampant, generating hooligans who are willing to be hired by Ethiopia’s enemies at any minimum pay to cause a widespread national havoc (killing their compatriots and destroying the socioeconomic infrastructure) to make Ethiopia ungovernable; (iv) the teaching and learning environment in all universities is polluted by socio-political unrest; (v) mistrust, the dangerous human attitude, is reigning in Ethiopia: absence of trust among citizens is one of the major elements of social unrest; and (v) hopelessness, uncertainties, and mistrust are destroying Ethiopian’s dream for peaceful, united, and prosperous Ethiopia.
This is you, Abiy Ahmed; in a short span of time, less than seven months, you have led Ethiopia to darkness out from the glowing bright future the country was enjoying and moving forward with confidence. When you were out of the political scene, even the mothers of neoliberalism, the so called Washington Consensus, i.e., World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, were impressed by Ethiopia’s economic and socio-political realities on which they produced praising reports; and renowned economists, including Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, applauded PM Meles Zenawi’s democratic developmental state theory and practice-based political stability and economic performance of Ethiopia for over twenty years. But, shamelessly, you called those years as years of darkness to please your backers/promoters!
You better Know Who Your Mentor
Abiy, you should know who your strategic-political mentor, Isaias Afeworki is. In case you do not know, let me tell you succinctly as follows:
1) Isaias is hired gun to put you under his wings so that you do the dirty job on his behalf to destabilize Ethiopia, including stopping the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The world has watched you and Isaias being rewarded the highest national-special-gold medal prize from the United Arab Emirates’ Prince for a job well done. I watched a video you stooping and kissing Isaias Afeworki’s right hand at that ceremony. Shame, an Ethiopian leader has never-ever done that at any event, let alone at an Arabic event. You should have known the national consequences of demeaning behaviour of a national leader. A leader is expected to project a national honour.
style="margin-left:.25in;">2) You know that Isaias has declared himself a king for life of the tiny enclave called Eritrea, a country without constitution.
3) You flatter him “Isu” during casual conversations, thinking that you might be able to manipulate him. However, you must know that Isaias Afeworki is shrewder than you. He is a tested iron man! You better be careful. In fact, trust me, he will dump you soon.
4) The chronic poverty Eritreans are suffering from is not his concern. Thousands of Eritreans are fleeing their homeland to seek refuge in Ethiopia, emptying their homeland of all nationhood identities and the productive workforce, facts revealing national failure.
5) By-the-way, you and Isaias tried to break the genetic, cultural, and historical bondages (natural relationships) between the Eritrean and Tiraian peoples to meet your goal of marginalizing the TPLF and removing it from power eventually. You both failed. The people were ahead of you in quick thinking and in taking actions to rebuild their family hoods and livelihoods. The historical celebratory events at several border towns, such as Zala-Ambessa, Rama, and the Badme Front should have given you lessons you will never forget. The celebrations were people’s power in action. Learn from those celebrations that you never planned.
6) As you know well, Isaias has jailed all his comrades of the liberation struggle, including top generals, political elites, and intellectuals. He is now a lonely man in Asmara. You may have to visit him frequently to nurse him psychologically.
7) Long time ago, when he was a student at the Haile Selassie I University, Addis Ababa, Isaias dreamt and declared in 1975 disintegration of Ethiopia into pieces of enclaves equal to the size of tiny Eritrea. This was his response to a BBC reporter in 1980 in London, when she asked him about future relationship with “the giant in the south”, Ethiopia. That remains a dream, but, he did not stop dreaming. He envisions using you, Abiy, to realize his dream.
8) Isaias Afeworki is the butcher of Ayder Elementary School Children.
9) He will never give up dreaming a bad dream for removal of the TPLF from the Ethiopian political landscape. Observers have concluded recently that this obsession of removing TPLF will kill him eventually. You will be left without a close mentor, Abiy!
Caveats: Do not get me wrong: I am not claiming that TPLF is a perfect political body. Far from it, it has weaknesses and strengths, like any human organization. However, TPLF possesses an admirable behavioural trait; it is very quick to learn from its mistakes. Dynamic renaissance (ongoing rebirth/renewal) is TPLF’s guiding principle.
Declaration of a Unified Political Force: the Best Way Forward
This is the high time for TPLF to forge a close strategic alliance with all progressive-democratic Ethiopian forces immediately. I suspect many of them are waiting for a call from the Mother of all victories, the TPLF. The time is right to declare a unified national party involving all progressive parties from all regional states. That is, must reach out all Ethiopia’s nations, nationalities, and peoples through their democratic forces. Give it an attractive name with a nationalistic spirit that impresses the gullible and the elite. In short, the TPLF has a huge opportunity now to create a brand new strategy for Ethiopia’s revolutionary democratic developmental state (RDDS). RDDS is a dynamic socioeconomic and political transformation process by which a genuine sustainable development, which fosters inclusiveness, justice, equity, empowerment, and freedoms. It is a conceptual vision rooted in systems thinking with clear strategies for fighting neoliberalism, which is determined to create a fragile Ethiopian state vulnerable to the dangers of regime change through a colour revolution, using Abiy Ahmed & Co. as instruments!
Paying immeasurable sacrifices, TPLF liberated all oppressed Ethiopian masses on 20 May 1991. It succeeded tremendously, beyond imagination of its detractors – particularly the Amhara narrow nationalists and chauvinists as well as Isaias Afeworki & Co. What you see in modern socioeconomic infrastructure of Ethiopia is what you should always think about TPLF’s sacrifices and victories. That is why the Ethiopian masses admire and respect the TPLF and, by extension, the people of Tigrai for the sacrifices they paid for Ethiopia’s unity.
Finally, a warning to the detractors of Tigrai’s historical contributions to Ethiopia’s nationhood is necessary. Without going into the historical facts of Alula Aba Nega, Yohanes the 4th, and the Battle of Adwa, etc. etc., let me focus on the recent 17-year bitter struggle that destroyed the heinous government of Mengistu Hailemariam. The Government of Tigrai has obligations and factual grounds (reasons) to call upon the Federal Government (be it the current or future) for redressing the miscarriages of justice against the people of Tigrai. Political recognition and material compensations are just necessary, but not sufficient to heal all of the multiple wounds Tigraians suffered for years.
The patience, the civility, and the magnanimity of the people of Tigrai must be acknowledged. Although Tigrai paid immeasurable sacrifices to defeat external invaders and dictatorial and corrupt political oppressors, the people are willing and happy to live in freedom, peace, security, prosperity, and harmony with all their Ethiopian compatriots in a democratically united Ethiopia. The people of Tigrai have never been and never will be vindictive. They would like to be seen as civil, compassionate, magnanimous, and patriotic Ethiopians. However, civility, humility, and patience are not signs of weakness. The quest for justice that remedies all historical grievances must be addressed. Enough is enough for Abiy Ahmed & Co.! Let it be known that this generation of Tigraians will not remain complacent to all the injustices that afflicted enduring harm on Tigrai. There is an urgent need for redressing all miscarriages of justice.
Betray not Tigrai for the sake of Ethiopia’s unity in diversity!
This is the high time for TPLF to forge a close strategic alliance with all progressive-democratic Ethiopian forces immediately