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The Experience of TPLF is Needed now more than ever

By Habtom Tesfa
Tigrai Online August 8, 2020

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The federal government and the governments of its nine states all terminate their mandates in eight weeks. They were all supposed to hold elections this year. However, the federal government postponed the election to an undetermined date "because of" COVID-19. All states, except Tigray, accepted the will of the head of the federal government- without discussing the issue in their respective State Councils.

The state of Tigray, however, decided to hold election. True to its tradition, the governing party of Tigray, TPLF, followed all legal and constitutional procedures to arrive at this final stage of holding an election . The State of Tigray went further and improved, on August 6, the election rule of the State. All five previous elections held in Ethiopia were based on First-Past-The-Post system. This time, however, 20% of the Council seats will be allotted based on the proportional method. This amendment is a huge step forward to achieve democracy. In this method, the recently formed political parties of Tigray will have more chance of winning some seats in the State Council.

The last two years have been tough on Tigray and Tigrayans. Relentless pressure have been exerted on Tigray from the federal government, the anti-federalist movements, and the Eritrean dictatorial regime. The Federal Constitution of Ethiopia is not only being questioned, but attempts are being made to abolish it altogether. Several anti-constitutional measures were taken in the last two years. To mention few: the sovereignty of eight of the states of Ethiopia was undermined when the governers of these states were changed by the direct order of the prime minister. The prime minister of Ethiopia has been committing a high treason by conspires with the Eritrean regime against Tigray. The way the prime minister formed his new party is outright illegal. The way the prime minister extended his mandate with out election is anti-constitutional. The state media has been used by the federal government  to promote discrimination and hate against Tigrayans. Hundreds, if not thousands, are detained just because they are Tigrayans. Many of the imprisoned are denied release even when the Court ordered their release. Threats and attempts of invasion of Tigray by the fatic Amharas have received a nod of  approval from the federal government. Highways connecting Tigray to Addis Ababa through the Amhara State have been closed for over two years.

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Tigrayans have been able to withstand all pressures. The resilience of Tigrayans may surprise the superficial observer- but not the careful observer. Tigrayans and the governing party (TPLF) remained true to their true nature and tradition: Tigrayans never surrender to oppression, and they know how to get united when it really counts.

The main goal of the struggle of Tigrayans has always been to achieve self-rule and self-determination of Tigrayans. Tigrayans achieved this high principle of human right for themselves and the rest of Ethiopians in May 1991. Almost three decades have passed since self-rule and self-determination of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia have been the norm in Ethiopia. Yet, the last two years made evident that this norm has some challengers. And thus, the struggle to keep the self-rule and self-determination needs to be continued.

TPLF is the most experienced political party of Ethiopia. The one thing TPLF is particularly good at is an accurate assessment of the political situation of Ethiopia and the ability of designing a strategy that gives a lasting solution. Now, more than ever, this experience of TPLF is needed to safeguard the federal constitution of Ethiopia. Tigrayans have known to rally around TPLF. Federalists of other Nations and Nationalities should also form a stable working relation with TPLF. These federalists will only gain from the valuable experience of TPLF.

What's more curious and more surprising is the interference of the Eritrean regime in Ethiopian politics. It's a serious mistake to assume that the Eritrean dictator's intentions are motivated only by his resentment of TPLF. The dictator's intention is to abolish the multinational federal system of government in Ethiopia. Eritreans, more than anybody else, should oppose the dictator's actions. Not just for not creating enmity with the federalist peoples of Ethiopia, but foremost for the sake of Eritreans and Eritrea's sovereignty. Eritreans should remember that their country's sort has long been determined by the whims of the dictator. The dictator never accepts inputs from Eritrean ministers, high officials or the general Eritrean public. The Eritrean dictator is known to have made several ill-decisions and miscalculations that resulted in the long suffering of Eritreans and the failure of the country- be it socially, economically, or politically. The Eritrean dictator, several times, showed his contempt for the independence of Eritrea. This contempt for the independence of Eritrea was recently uttered by the prime minister of Ethiopia, when he said: "In my several visits to Eritrea, what I have noticed is that the struggle for the independence of Eritrea had been a loss". Of course, nobody honors what the owner despises. The dictator’s contempt for the sovereignty and people of Eritrea can only invigorate whoever wants to dominate Eritrea.

TPLF has long known how to push-back pressure and  maintain its identity. Even during its young age, in the second half the 70's, TPLF never accepted to be bossed around by political movements which were more powerful at the time. They did all try to impose a sub-ordinate role to TPLF. The Eritrean Liberation Front, the Eritrean People Liberation Front and the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party all took it for granted that the young TPLF could only accept order from them. How shocked they must have been when TPLF refused to be a sub-ordinate, and especially by TPLF's success. Yes, TPLF sought co-operation with all movements fighting against the terrible Ethiopian regime of the time. Yet, always maintaining its identity. TPLF jealously defended its independence of thought and ideology. Even now, things won't be different. TPLF will defend successfully the self-rule and self determination of Tigrayans.

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One of the most famous slogans of TPLF is "Mesmer eyu Hailina, Hizbi eyu Hailina", i.e, "Principle is our Force, the People is our Force". TPLF long knew that it can depend on the correctness of its principle and the valor of its people.

Let me finish by quoting the inscription at The Tigrayan Martys Memorial Monument:

"ዝኾነ ዓይነት ወፅዓን ባርነትን ከምዘይንቕበል: ንኻልእ ህዝቢ 'ውን ከምዘይንምነየሉ: ክጎብጠና ንዝደሊ ዝኾነ ሓይሊ ፍፁም ከምዘይንምብርከኽ: ናይ ትማሊ ናይ ሎሚ ናይ ፅባሕ ናይ ወትሩ ነቕ ዘይብል ቃል ኪዳንና እዩ"

"It's our unswerving pledge of yesterday, today, tomorrow and ever that we do not accept any kind of oppression or slavery, nor do we wish these to other people; and that we do not surrender to any power whatsoever that wants to dominate us"