One more Futile Exercise to Sandwich the People of Tigrai
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One more Futile Exercise to Sandwich the People of Tigrai

By Gebremedhin Gebru E-mail:
Tigrai Online, Ethiopian News, August 9, 2016

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We are observing unusual demonstrations in some towns of the Amhara administrative region. Specially, the Gonder demonstration was a special phenomenon when seen in light with its scale and the messages relayed by the demonstrators.

By the pretext of boundary issue between the Tigrai and the Amhara Administrative Regions; we observed the lootings and destructions of the properties of some Tigrayans who have been living in the town for a number of years and the portrayal of messages of hatred targeting the people of Tigrai.

Though there was no official body mentioned to be the organizer of the demonstration, it seems that the Gonder demonstration was not spontaneous; rather it was well thought, well organized and well launched.  Surprisingly, some of the placards raised during the demonstration were replicas of the slogans which have been voiced during the last 25 years by the one people, one religion and one language advocates.

Thus, it will not be plausible to believe that if not the ones at regional level, the ones at zonal and wereda levels of the Gonder administration are not aware of these all illegal preparations and organizations of the demonstration. 

During his interview with the Amharic Version of the Ethiopian Reporter Newspaper of August 3, 2016, Ato Nigusu Tilahun, Head of the Amhara Regional Government’s Communication Office said, “…the question of not clearly delineating the border between the Tigrai and the Amhara Administrative Regions has been for a number of years…”.  The statement under quotation is my translation of part of the Amharic version of the interview.

However, one of the questions raised by the Gondar demonstrators was a request for the areas of Welkayit, Tsegede, Dansha and Humera to be under the Amhara Administrative Region.  Thus, the issue as being expressed by Ato Nigusu is not about a very detailed boarder issue requiring the delineation of small villages or of small communities, but of big areas probably in tens of thousands of kilometer squares being resided by hundreds of thousands of people.

Here two questions could be posed: why the official of the Amhara Administration is saying that the border between the two regions is not clearly delineated yet? If this is the belief by one of the high official of the Regional Government; then what should we expect from the government and the party officials at the zonal and wereda levels of the Gonder area?

It should be apparent that the basic principles in the regional border delineations are clearly stated in the Ethiopian Constitution; which was ratified before some 20 years.  Besides to their common history; this constitution is serving as a strong binding thread between the Ethiopian nations and nationalities to respect each other and to live in harmony and equality.

Therefore, leaving historical arguments and justifications aside, based on the constitution, some areas which were known to be under Tigrai Administration are now under the Amhara and Afar Administrations. Similarly, some areas which were under the Amhara Administration are now in the Tigrai Administration. Thus, why the issue of boarder is being raised now; while it should have been raised before some 20 years if it has a rational ground?.

Moreover, when the protesters request for the above mentioned areas to be returned back to the Amhara Region; it is not clear whether they are requesting for the status-quo-ante of the regional boundaries to the pre-1996 Ethiopia; which otherwise their question shouldn’t be focused on only selected areas implying that the question by itself has a double standard approach.

The Ethiopian Constitution has put a provision on how the constitution can be reformed and even on how it could completely be changed.  It gives space for any political group provided that it addresses its political view peacefully and abided by the constitution. 

Therefore, observing at the Gonder demonstration, could there be enough justification for someone not to raise the concern: Is ANDM’s commitment to its basic political principles of respect and peaceful co-existence among the nations and nationalities still intact at all levels of its leadership? If the answer is yes, then how ANDM is going to prevent such illegal demonstrations and moves and how is it going to effectively handle its succession plan in such a way that it maintains its basic principles will be the subsequent questions their practical and objective answers of which is anticipated in the near future.

Nowadays, the external enemies of Ethiopia are working day-in and day-out to materialize their long-term goal of dis-integrating Ethiopia. One of their strategies towards this end is targeting the people of Tigrai by creating alliance with and through the provision of military, political and economic support to some of the Ethiopian Opposition Groups whom they think they can to some extent serve them on their way towards achieving their goal.  Accordingly, some of the opposition groups have been trying to impose their political view forcefully and in un-constitutional way through armed confrontations.

But, why do our external enemies set targeting the People of Tigrai as their primarily strategy in meeting their long-term goal? The rationale behind this strategy needs to be clear to all Ethiopians.

To my understanding, this strategy is not developed by coincidence nor it can't be attributed only to the geographic location of Tigrai. It is rather a well thought and well designed strategy; the reasons of which could be concisely summarized as follows:

First and foremost, the People of Tigrai’s contribution for Ethiopia to be one of the oldest independent countries in Africa, to be one of the oldest country in the world, its offering of a greater richness in archaeological findings and historical buildings which makes it a country of rich heritage and a cradle of civilization is immense.

Second, Ethiopia is considered as an icon of liberty, as it was never colonized and it maintained its independence during the scramble of Africa. In this regard, Adwa-Tigrai, is considered as the icon of liberty which enabled Ethiopians to converge to a point under the struggle for their national dignity and integrity.

Third, it is the People of Tigrai who welcomed and accommodated Islam signaling Ethiopia as the land of religions tolerance.

Fourth, T.P.L.F’s and the People of Tigrai’s seventeen years of intense and arduous armed struggle that resulted in the removal of the Dergue Fascist Regime has costed more than 60,000 lives and more than 100,000 Freedom Fighters are left with permanent war injuries. The struggle has proven to be the true vanguard of not only to the Tigrayan people, but it's more also true liberator of all Ethiopians. Therefore, the people of Tigrai strongly believe that it has the responsibility of protecting and enhancing the prevailing peace, democracy and development in the country.

Last, but not least, the historic path through which Ethiopia has been marching especially since the beginning of the Axumite Kingdom i.e.; during the last two millenniums was not smooth. The turbulence of transition from year to year, from decade to decade, from century to century and from millennium to millennium was full of incredible civilization and immense destruction; and the people of Tigrai was the main actor during these transitions.

From the above historical facts, it will not be surprising for the external enemies of Ethiopia to target the People of Tigrai, as they do believe that weakening the people of Tigrai will be the best strategy to weaken and dis-integrate Ethiopia.

On the other hand, the hatreds towards the people of Tigrai, and their alliance with the external enemies of Ethiopia of some of the opposition groups emanates mainly from the fact that the People of Tigrai is one of the core pillar for the establishment of the present day Ethiopia; and since they are basically opposing the constitution; they believe that weakening the people of Tigrai could enable them for achieving their goal of overthrowing the current government and for abolishing the constitution. 

For these reasons, we are witnessing a concerted effort by both internal and external bodies a futile exercise to sandwich the people of Tigrai from both the north and the south directions.

Therefore, we Ethiopians should be aware that we are in a great moment in which we should renew our commitment to continue building-up of our culture of tolerance and unity.  We are in a historic moment in which this generation should build a sprit that can take on any future challenges; and represent hope for the generations to come.

Besides, the Ethiopian Government should take pro-active and objective measures, including but not limited to:

  1. Seriously fighting corruption, nepotism and mal-administration without ifs and buts and at all levels of the government organ including at the top leadership without further delay.
  2. The need to enhance press freedom, and to build the capabilities of both the government and private Medias with special emphasis on the introduction and strengthening of investigative journalism.
  3. Listening peoples’ complaints and grievances from the outset; and taking immediate corrective and legal measures before they are compounded and become fertile grounds for illegal and destructive moves.
  4. Enhancing the democratization process through the strengthening of the relevant institutions and civic societies.
  5. Strengthening the check and balance between the executive and the legislative organs of the government; and the avoidance of any form of un-necessary intervention and dominance by the executive body in the legal system.
  6. Fostering development endeavors in general and the creation of job opportunities for the youngsters in particular.
  7. Sensitizing and upgrading the awareness level of the public in general and the youngsters in particular on the constitution and on the principles of the federal system.
  8. Devising filtering and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is clean from any sort of hidden agenda apart from the investment it is involved.
  9. Reviewing the “No-Peace, No-war” policy on Eretria; and devising alternative policies and strategies that could match with the current dynamics in Ethiopia, in the horn of Africa and in light with the political and military developments in the Middle-East.
  10. Besides to the public participation, the need for the establishment of a think-tank task-force from different segments of the public including from scholars, religion leaders, public figures and from peaceful opposition groups; who could serve as an advisory team to the government on critical national issues.

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