Woyane Tigrai: 60,000 reasons for an immediate and Comprehensive overhaul
By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Online, Nov. 21 2017
TPLF has finally come to its senses, after weeks of intense deliberations,
the central and executive committees have agreed to upgrade the organisation.
TPLF has finally come to its senses, and after weeks of intense deliberations on the critical performance report presented by the Party Secretariat, the central and executive committees have agreed to upgrade the organisation and make it fit for purpose. The Secretariat’s narrative highlighted poor performances in relation to governance and economic development among others; and these were attributed to leadership incompetence bogged down in a perilous schismatic in-fighting.
TPLF’s press release insinuated that there would be a drive to open the organisation to young Turks and the intelligentsia who subscribe to its political convictions. It can be inferred from this that the intention of this noble and timely move is to utilise the new entrants to replace the current leaders that have completely lost sight of the responsibility conferred on them by the organisations martyrs and the electorates.
What should be avoided at any cost is a repeat of the previous successive cosmetic tinkering of the TPLF that never brought a qualitative change resulting in the organisations fighting for its survival at this juncture. TPLF played a significant part in the creations of ANDM and OPDO during the liberation struggle; and these outfits have been through several qualitative reconfigurations allowing them not only to have a strong say within the EPRDF but to also steer the organisation in the direction of their choices. The TPLF was in a deep slumber while the junior partners were re-shaping the EPRDF that owes its existence to the thousands of valiant Tigrains who perished during the 17 years long armed struggle.
TPLF begun to lose full control of the EPRDF after the acrimonious schism of its politburo in 2000. Meles obviously consolidated his position but the biggest beneficiaries of this sad state of affair was ANDM which played a decisive part in the departure of the crème de la crème of the TPLF. Although Meles managed to see off of his opponents, he had the misfortune of ending up with law calibre politburo members and this made him prone to undue influence by Addisu Legesse who was the leader of ANDM at that time.
After assuming full control of the TPLF, Meles should have beefed- it-up by bringing-in new members of the same aptitude as those who left the organisation in a very unceremonious manner. Instead, he opted to solely under take all the responsibilities until his passing on 20 August 2012. It can be unequivocally stated that it was Meles who was singlehandedly leading the EPRDF not the TPLF as was the case until 2000. Since his demise, the EPRDF has never been the same for lack of a strong and charismatic supremo capable of unifying and leading the various members of the front.
No question that under the tutelage of Meles, Ethiopia has been placed among the best economic performers of the world; and the once conflict ridden nation is on a path to become ‘’ Africa’s China’’, according to global financial institutions. But the great man failed to revamp the TPLF and left it in the hands of leaders that backed him during the split that was largely instigated by their differences on Eritrea.
By their own admissions, the present leaders have abandoned their long held political principles in exchange for personal gains and fell short of delivering economic transformation of the region they administer. The incriminatory press statement accuses them of pointing fingers at each other for all sorts of undesirable reasons instead of serving the public diligently to meet their dire needs such us provisions of potable water and employment. TPLF has now reached a point of no return---reform or be irrelevant.
We thank the current leaders of the TPLF for their tremendous contributions in removing a formidable military government and replacing it with a federal political system that serves the interests of all the peoples of the nation. But the moment has arrived for a hand over of reign to able hands who can grasp the multifaceted needs of the people and come up with strategies to deliver them. We demand new leaders not only to robustly defend the interests of Tigrai federally, but to also bring about a consistent and long lasting economic prosperity to a region that suffered the most during the 17 years gruelling struggle to discard a brutal military junta. This is in addition to strenuously redressing gross injustices, chronic corruption, nepotism, poor governance, unemployment and lack of political competition as exemplified by the recent experience of ARENA members in Mekelle.
Recent turbulences in Oromia and Amhara regions, led by chauvinists and narrow nationalists, have graphically highlighted the need for the TPLF to have strong and adept leaders capable of putting-up stiff resistance along with other members of the federation and prevent the country from plunging into an intractable civil war. Another important issue that requires immediate action is the exposure of the fictitious assertion of ‘‘Tigrian economic hegemony.’’
For the last 26 years, this utter falsehood has been peddled by chauvinists at home and in the diaspora making Tigrians residing outside their region targets of vicious attacks by their credulous followers as seen in Gonder and Oromia recently. It is inexcusable that the TPLF and other members the EPRDF including OPDO and ANDM, who benefited the most, never made an effort to debunk the phantasm of ‘Tigrian dominance’ which was propagated for nearly three decades.
We call upon the TPLF and the federal government to make public the composition of federal judiciary, bureaucracy, the army, corporation and utility heads, Media/press managers, bank presidents, large indigenous private investments, Real Estate developers, federal budget/ capital project subsidies to the regions. Without a shadow of a doubt, availability of this information will dispel the delusional ‘Tigrian supremacy’ and reveal instead total Amhara dominance in all aspects of the metropolis and beyond. Another equally important indicator of ascendency is the development of Amharic (mother tongue of only 27 million people out of a population of over hundred million) in terms of music, literature, culture, films and theatre at the expense of the other languages of the multi-national state.
The moment is also ripe for the endowment fund of Tigrai, EFFORT, to be reformed and left to experienced business managers in order to make it competitive and generate more revenues for investments in sectors where the regional government is not involved. Amhara’s TIRET, which is equivalent to EFFORT, has a number of successful companies that it acquired since its creation in 1995 with the help of TPLF’s 26million birr. Dashen Brewery which is part of TIRET’s enterprise, has two plants---- one in Gonder and the other in Debre Berhin constructed at a cost of 2.6 billion birr.
TIRET’s other companies include Tikur Abby Transport, Zeleke Agricultural Mechanisation, Beles Logistics, Ambasel Trading, Tana Communications, Azila Electronics, Bahir Dar and Kombolch Textiless. The last two were procured at knocked down prices of 315 million birr and 450 million birr respectively by the Prime Minister’s executive order.
Elements within the TPLF are likely to limit the scope of the reform as they want to retain the status quo that made them affluent and powerful. By all means possible, this should be strongly opposed and the long overdue overhaul of the organisation has to take place from the centre to the lowest level possible. Holding the TPLF to ransom by shady and inept individuals is tantamount to betrayal of those who died for the betterment of their people.