Freedom for all Tigraian Freedom Fighters:
Time for Abiy Ahmed Ali to Repent and Apologize
By Mogos Abraham, PhD
Centre for Middle Eastern Studies
Tigrai Online , August 21, 2019
Let it be known that this generation of Tigraians will not remain complacent to all the injustices that afflicted enduring harm on Tigrai.
I was dumfounded to listen and watch news via multiple media outlets telling the world that Abiy Ahmed Ali (hereafter Ali, using his last name) has placed more than 1,500 Tigraian freedom fighters and hardworking business persons (Tigraians) in political-prison dungeons, unknown-underground political prisons. It must be noted that all these Tigraians are embodiments of Woyane, the revolutionary struggle for freedom. The illegal actions were taken against the freedom fighters for no other reason than for being Tigraian freedom fighters. Even if there were any allegations against them, they were legally entitled to be innocent and free until proven guilty, i.e., being free citizens in accordance with the law of the land. Article 10 of the Ethiopian Constitution enunciates: (1). Human rights and freedoms, emanating from the nature of mankind, are inviolable and inalienable. (2).Human and democratic rights of citizens and peoples shall be respected (emphasis added). Moreover, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations (1948) makes it clear that:
Article 11 (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed (emphasis added).
Ali has violated the individual rights and freedoms of the Tigraians. Why? Let me start with a few thought triggering questions: (1) Why and how did the cunning-street-smart Ali forged strong friendly relationship with the TPLF’s heroes and heroines? (2) What was his role within the intelligence apparatus of the EPRDF? (3) What strategies did he use to become Prime Minister of Ethiopia? (4) Why and how did he betray the TPLF? (5) Can he justify legally the mass arrest of more than 1,500, including freedom fighters (generals and other high ranking officers) as well as hardworking business men and women Tegaru? (6) Why and how did Ali succeed in making the current Ethiopia a weak sate; and subsequently, a fragile state, heading to become a failed state? These are a few of the fundamental questions that can be used to analyze Ali’s treasonous behaviour and its tragic consequences.
Mischievous, Treasonous, Intelligence Officer
Ali’s ultimate betrayal is a national treason, a crime of the highest order. Traitors are opportunistic, weak, and liars. Ali is just that. When Tigraian freedom fighters along with other progressive Ethiopian forces destroyed Mengistu Hailemariam’s military machine in a few hours’ time of final engagements around Addis Ababa on May 28, 1991 (Gunbot 20, 1983, the historic victory day of the masses), Ali was mesmerized and absolutely hypnotized by the miraculous victory and the gallantry, discipline, patience, politeness, and magnanimity of the Tigraian freedom fighters. As a young man, who claimed to be one of the victims of the Derg’s inhuman atrocities, Ali watched it all happen. He watched destruction of the Derg and its largest and most sophisticated military machine black Africa had ever seen. Derg and its infrastructure were demolished for good. After 17 years of bitter, but systematic, guerrilla warfare, the savagery of the military junta was eliminated. The humiliating defeat forced Mengistu Hailemariam, the then Chairman of the Communist Party of Ethiopia, to escape to Zimbabwe to live as a refugee.
Ali wanted to be like the Tigraian freedom fighters, the Woyenti (in Tigrigna), meaning revolutionaries. He admired and emulated them; and told them his personal and family history. He presented himself as a victim of the heinous military junta of Mengistu Hailemariam; that his father was subjected to cruel treatments in the prison cells of the Derg; and that the Derg murdered his elder brother. He added that he himself (Ali) and his many relatives were subjected to the cruelties of the Derg. Thus, cunningly enough, he became a friend of many of the Woyenti.
After all his allegations as a victimized young man, the TPLF fighters accepted him. He was trained as an intelligence officer; and served under the command of the renowned intelligence officers of the TPLF. He became fluent in Tigrigna. In fact, he became more Tigraian than we Tigraians ourselves, because of his wittiness (manipulative, clever, and humorous). In short, representing the OPDO (Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization), Ali became one of the trusted national security officers within the EPRDF. He became one of Prime Minister Hailemariam’s top ministers.
However, Ali breached the social contract he entered to serve Ethiopia with professional integrity and ethics. He built a network of national and international saboteurs that were working hard to make Ethiopia ungovernable, with an ultimate goal of making the EPRDF government of that time, under Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, dysfunctional. With his internal collaborators, mainly Demeke Mekonnen, Gedu Andargachew, and Lema Megersa, along with their external supporters, such as Birhanu Nega, Andargachew Tsigie, & Co. as well as Tamagn Beyene (another cunning artist), armed with their media outlets, such as ESAT, Ali succeeded in creating social, economic, and political turmoil throughout Ethiopia. The traitors created the conditions for Ethiopia’s ungovernability. Have a look and listen the following two links that expose the treasonous acts of Ali & Co.:
Ali violated the sacrosanct of the Constitution, which is a serious national treason.
The Making of Ethiopia Ungovernable
Possessing an insider’s intelligence (information) and a cabinet minister’s position, it was easy for Ali to be enlisted by external forces in America, Europe, and the Middle East as a key player in disintegrating the EPRDF government in order to create pathways to a “regime change”. The ultimate goal was replacing the revolutionary democratic developmental state with neoliberalism (i.e., imperialism), against which the genius and globally respected Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, fought successfully. To meet that goal of a messenger, Ali organized the so called Team Lema, involving Demeke Mekonen, deputy Prime Minister; Gedu Andargachew, President of Amhara Regional State; Lema Megersa, President of the Oromia Regional State; and Ali himself. The above evidences demonstrate that these traitors were trusted hired guns of the external forces. Shamelessly, they betrayed their own governing body, the EPRDF, and benefited from the insiders’ information they possessed.
Team Lema formed networks with intelligence organizations of external governments and with disgruntled opposition groups of the diaspora. It succeeded in creating sociopolitical conditions that made Ethiopia ungovernable. Unemployed hooligans, riding motor bikes, torched industrial complexes and public offices indiscriminately throughout Ethiopia, except Tigrai; they did not dare to do anything like that in the land of the Woyenti, the revolutionary freedom fighters. They knew what would follow.
However, the cowards committed crimes against humanity: Tigraians were harassed, bitten, and killed in cities of the Amhara Regional State. Under the watchful eyes of Team Lema – particularly Demeke Mekonen and Gedu Andargachew – flash-mobs of hooligans unleashed genocidal rampages during the months of July and August 2016 against Tigraians, who lived for generations in their own Motherland. For the mere fact that they were Tigraians, hundreds were mobbed and massacred; their properties were ransacked and torched; and about 11,000 of them, including mothers and their children and the elderly, were forced to escape to neighbouring North Sudan. Because of these and similar atrocities throughout Ethiopia, a state of emergency was declared. That is, Ethiopia was placed under strict conditions of military rule.
Being so ignorant of the tragedies that were to follow, Team Lema, Ginbot-7 of Birhanu Nega, Shaébia of Eritrea, Egypt, and some other Arab countries, had wished for a smooth regime change. They had no clue that their cruel actions were going to backfire and immerse the country into a quagmire of a failed state, like the tragedies of Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Thanks to the farsightedness of the Ethiopian people and strength of the Federal security apparatus, however, the deliberate provocations of the enemies of Ethiopia were crashed; and the tragedies that characterize a failed state were averted. The underground mob network of terror they built was destroyed; most of the terrorists were captured by the Ethiopian security forces; and those who were hiding in potholes in the Amhara State and those who escaped to their Eritrean hideouts were pursued and eliminated by the Ethiopian security forces.
However, at a crucial meeting of the executive body of the EPRDF, chaired by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Team Lema made many unfounded allegations (accusations) against the TPLF. They alleged that Tigraian domination in the governance system and personal weaknesses of the Prime Minister were responsible for the national havoc. The Team demanded for a “regime change”. To save Ethiopia from disaster, Prime Minister Hailemariam agreed to resign; and was replaced by Ali. That is, Ali became an accidental-caretaker Prime Minister of Ethiopia, i.e., until the 2020 Federal Elections, the year Prime Minister Hailemariam’s term of service ends. During that confusion, TPLF made a crucial and clever strategic decision: it moved to its roots, to the people of Tigrai for whose freedom it fought the bitter and protracted war and won!
The traitors, who had no knowledge of governing a complex country like Ethiopia and the foresight of the human tragedies that were to follow, they got what they wanted, the political power. However, because of their ignorance and inabilities to foresee and govern, Ethiopia is in the abyss, a bottomless tragic pit of hopelessness, a fragile state heading to be a failed state. Thanks God, TPLF, well-armed to defend itself and the people of Tigrai, is monitoring the direction and the scale of the social, economic, and political tragic crises Ethiopia is going through. From its safe vantage point, using multiple media outlets, TPLF continues to voice for the rule of law for all Ethiopians.
Tragic Sociopolitical and Economic Consequences of Treachery
In my recent piece, Rotten and Fractured beyond Repair, EPRDF no More: Emergency Exit for TPLF, Now! Part III, I highlighted the following sociopolitical and economic factors that characterize a fragile state, which is on its pathways to becoming a failed state: (i) about four million Ethiopians internally displaced, ranking Ethiopia first in the world in this tragic human misery; (ii) two renowned Tigraian generals and several leaders of the Amhara leadership murdered; (iii) in all regional states, with the exception of Tigrai, civilians and security personnel being killed frequently; (iv) from 2018 to present, unidentified paramilitary forces robbed more than 20 public and private banks in the Oromia State and Addis Ababa; (v) soaring unemployment and inflation rates simultaneously, an economic stagflation, characterizing a stagnant economy, reveals the fact that the Ethiopian economy is in ruins; (vi) the TPLF and the ADP, two of the four political entities that constitute the EPRDF, the current governing body, are at each other’s throats; (vii) a dangerous social distrust is prevalent throughout Ethiopia: neighbours, different ethnic groups, individuals, and even ministers of the State, do not trust one another, revealing a widespread impotence and disillusionment in the political governance system, which is holding Ethiopia in social traps, mutually reinforcing hazardous elements in a society; the most dangerous social distrust being within the EPRDF’s membership, the inept governing body; (viii) self-serving ultra-right wing religious and political groups and individuals, who live in luxurious homes with their families in America, Europe, and the Middle East (Arab States), financed jobless paramilitary hooligans to create tragic interethnic civil conflicts that left thousands of innocent people slaughtered in various localities of Ethiopia, with the exception of Tigrai; and (ix) with full knowledge of the Federal Government of Ali, the Amhara State leaders closed all federal (public) highways that link the social and economic fabrics of the Amhara and Tigrai peoples.
Declaration of War against Tigrai
As pointed out above, it was with implicit approval of Ali, the so called Prime Minister; the Amhara Regional Government blocked all traffic that was moving people as well as consumer and capital goods to Tigrai through federal highways that cross the Amhara Killil (Regional State). This act was a declaration of war of the Amhara extremists against Tigrai. Their ultimate goal was to destroy all socioeconomic activities in Tigrai; and, subsequently, to force the people of Tigrai into submission to their wishful dreams of governing the land of Woyane. Had they succeeded, they were eager to commit crimes of oppression and subjugation similar to those of Minelik, Haile Selassie, and Mengistu. They failed miserably. Most of these extremist elements had forgotten the lessons TPLF taught them repeatedly during the 17-year bitter armed struggle and after the victory. Keep in mind, Ali was one of the trusted disciples (students) of TPLF. Most of them, including Asamenow Tsigie, were TPLF’s POWs (prisoners of war). All were taught how to behave with civility.
But, they forgot their lessons and attempted to force Tigrai into submission. To their absolute dismay, however, Tigrai is now the most stable, secure, and prospering Regional State; and is well armed to defend itself; ready to teach those who might miscalculate lessons they will never forget. The international community is well aware of this fact; and this truth has elevated TPLF’s popularity and respect nationally and internationally. The prevailing primacy of the rule-of-law throughout Tigrai manifests that fact. Mekelle is visited frequently by many diplomats and intellectuals to express their respective views and admirations of the leadership.
By contrast, the Amhara Regional State is in a state of shock and sorrow. People are afraid. They do not know what the future holds for them and their children: the regional economy is in shambles; unemployment is soaring; household income value (purchasing power) continues to diminish hourly; there is no law and order; corruption is rampant; social turmoil is spreading throughout the land of Amhara; and the regional social capital has depreciated to zero value. In short, declaring war against Tigrai backfired against the Amhara ultra-right wing extremists. This is one of the lessons the chauvinist-ignorant extremists and their next generations will never forget. History matters, as we all know it.
The Only Pathways to Peaceful Coexistence
The patience, the civility, and the magnanimity of the people of Tigrai must be acknowledged. Throughout their history, the people of Tigrai paid immeasurable lion’s share of sacrifices to defeat external invaders to protect Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; and to win freedom for all nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia from the chains of humiliating political oppression and subjugation by Imperialist rulers and military dictatorship. However, they (the people of Tigrai) are not asking for any compensation or special recognition. They just want to live in a national environment of peace, freedom, security, prosperity, and harmony with all their Ethiopian compatriots. 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.
But, please understand, civility, humility, and patience are not signs of weakness. The quest for justice that remedies all historical grievances must be addressed. Enough is enough! 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 historic miscarriages of justice against Tigrai. The immediate action Ali must take is to repent for his ultimate betrayal sins, apologize, and free the more than 1,500 Tigraian political prisoners: the generals, other high ranking military officers, and hardworking business persons. All are innocent and free of any wrong doing until proven guilty in the court of law.
Let freedom reign throughout Ethiopia!