Tigray Election: A Covenant with Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, & a Legal Mandate for Offense in Self-defense!
By Hailemariam Abebe
Tigrai Online Oct. 4, 2020
PART I: Tigray Election: Best Practice, Area for Improvement, Finding and Corrective Actions:
While amid an existential apocalypse, the people of Tigray have carried out what truly is a revolution first in the history not only of Tigray proper but in the African continent. At a time when a pandemic of both man-made and a function of nature, has posed the greatest threat to the very existence of the Tigrayan people, they have smashed fear into smithereens, put evil in its place, and voted for a government for the people whose mission it is not only to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but also with the legal mandate to go after those with contempt for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! The defiance against evil is not what was first for the people of Tigray; Tigray in fact, had prevailed over evil countless times and for eons of time! What is first is its Olympics in ideas broadcasted live on television! With real people of different political platforms, competing for state power protected with impartial laws, rules and regulations. That is not all. In a first in its kind in the African continent, Tigray showed, victors honoring those who had defeated, and those who did not win, congratulating the victors! In so doing, Tigray has demonstrated to friends and foes alike that it is special and Africa’s “shining city upon a hill!”
No, it was not perfect! As a human endeavor, perfection had not been the goal but the aim! No doubt there were irregularities and the irregularities must be the responsibilities of all parties to solve. Remember that they are the opportunities for the next glory! Remember too, that the mission of every Tigraway the world over is the building of REAL democracy and REAL democratic rule of law which guarantees the lives, wellbeing, liberties and the pursuit of happiness for our people! And such is possible only when we address and solve once and for all, the irregularities born from our experiments! How do we do that?
For about four years of my career, I had served as a regulatory compliance audit team leader for one of America’s top Fortune one hundred companies. This involved assembling an audit team of about twelve to fifteen professionals (Management System auditors, Engineers, lawyers, environmental, health and Safety professionals, Industrial Hygienists, OSHA, Quality Control and Assurance professionals), go anywhere in the world where the company had business entity, conduct audit and report to the board of Trustees on the compliance status of the site (a branch of the company worth hundreds of millions of dollars). The audit team is in effect the eyes and ears for the Board.
An audit is a very taxing and stressful time for the site being audited. It is a time when the site management is extremely worried that the audit team is going to find non-compliance which could have put the site in the crosshair of the EPA, OSHA or the FDA. The Board of Trustees does not like anything that could put the plant, even remotely, in legal jeopardy or a shut down. And so naturally, the site management is worried about what gap the audit team may discover, and worried too, about being roasted on the hottest seat by the Board of Trustees. Accordingly, the audit team is feared by the site management believing that the audit team is there to find faults and to get them in trouble with their livelihoods or careers.
Oftentimes, probably it is due to human nature, audit teams do like wielding their power and scare the site management to death. But I never travelled on that route. The best audits that I had led were when my team approached the audit not with looking after what the site was doing wrong but when we started by asking what the site was doing well! In my audit opening presentation, the first thing I tell the site was that we have come to look into what they do best as well as what challenges they have that the audit team could help them solve. And when I added that we worked for the same company and that our collective goal is to make sure the company was fulfilling its regulatory obligations; they no longer saw us as snoops with an aptitude for what was wrong! I would add too, that the audit team and the site management are in fact in a team and that there could not be “them” and “us!” By the time, I finished the opening presentation, the site management had become a partner with the audit team, and with this collaborative relationship, the site management had the confidence in us to tell us what they had planned to do to hide everything from the us! The end result? The audit team documented the best practice of the site, areas for improvement, and if there was non-compliance, a Finding which the audit team would help the site get the money or technical resources to solve the problem. A win-win outcome!
I have sited the above to drive a point. As the various political parties in Tigray assess the overall run of the election, I would urge them to review the overall execution of the election with what worked well first! I say that because if we start with the short comings, we may end up with biseki ya nukutsis yinedid ruhus (because of the dry twigs burns the forest). Besides, if we start with what went well (blessings) first, we are bound to end up counting our blessings and not lose sight by the outliers or short comings! And so, as we do a review of the election process, let us first document with an ink of GOLD the blessings and reflect on them, and then, let us go after the irregularities and write them too, in an ink of GOLD! If we do the review in a spirit of collaboration, as a team (remember we are all in it for a win for all of us!), and as partners, there is no doubt that our covenant with the reverence of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, would be advanced astronomically and the security of our people guaranteed in perpetuity!
As I have written before, the ultimate responsibility for the healthiest review, rests on, more than any of the other parties, on the TPLF leadership young and from the long march. And so, I urge them, especially the elder leadership who have led the fight for the last forty-five years, to realize that this is their last chance to leave Tigray with a timeless legacy, a legacy which ensures Tigray’s wellbeing for many centuries to come. This is the time to unleash the next generation of leaders, leaders on the same mission or goal but with contending ideas as to how to best get there! The recent election was a perfect training stage for the next generation of leaders. The elders must take time off and reflect on their forty-five years of leading the struggle and list the best practices of the journey to pass to the new generation! If they reflect on it with open mind, there is plenty of historical data which makes it obvious that the rule of law and never personal charisma or might, is what ensures sustainability of a worthy idea!
PART II: Ethiopia’s Predicament: Best Practice, Area for Improvement, Finding and Corrective Actions:
It was within months of the ascent PM Abiye to the helm of power, Tigray, forthrightly, concluded that Ethiopia was being driven into the abyss and Tigray prepared accordingly. Now, all the peoples of the Nations and Nationalities of Ethiopia, without exception, have followed suit and concluded too, that PM Abiy is the single most mortal enemy not only to Ethiopia and its people but also to the members of the that Prosperity Party themselves! At this very hour, the only seat of power for PM Abiye and his cadre of killer for hires that are the PP members, is Addis Ababa, and even that, it is amid a smoldering cataclysm! So much so that, the PM himself has told his closest cadres, he has the plane ready to whisk him way! And it is not without reason, Meskel and Irreechaa celebrations were by invitation only and why, in reminiscent of Mengistu’s military parade, we saw those Abiye’s equivalent of the Derg’s final days where he drafted University students and which the TPLF was quick to highlight the difference between the regular Derg soldiers that lost the battles and the University draftees, as the new recruits being “English speakers.” The fact is that there is no army that can save Abiye and his PP! By the most liberal review of the Abiye regime, there is nothing redemptive; no best practice, no area for improvement but the worst practice for the worst Findings in the last one hundred or so years!
On his watch and with him in a leading roll or the ultimate protagonist, treason not only spying, selling out the national interest but conspiracy with foreign powers against Ethiopia and Ethiopians of a given ethnic affiliation, selling our Abay, extra judicial killings of national leaders and heroes and ordinary people, ethnic cleansing, politically motivated and calculated interethnic and religious pogroms, dislocation by the millions, disappearances of university students, rule not by consent but by “Command Posts,” imprisoning not only political leaders on tramped up charges but peaceful protests by the tens of thousands, economic collapse, and not only national but international shame upon Ethiopia etc. By all measures, the Abiye regime is a criminal enterprise for which the Ethiopian people must dedicate themselves to bring it to the court of law! And this is in its existence before September 25th; come one hour after the 25th, the Abiye regime is a criminal enterprise, a fair game for the ultimate justice from the collective wisdom of the people of Ethiopia! To that effect, Tigray has made the move and our other compatriots must align with the same objective.
The Tigray election has spoken, loud and clear. As the people of Tigray voted for democracy and for the rule of law, they have concomitantly made it plain that there is no room for thugs, rogues and outlaws which threaten its security anywhere in its neighborhood! There is now in Tigray a legally elected government- a government of the people, for the people and by the people with a mandate backed by millions of Tegaru ready not only to defend it but to incur incalculable devastation on those with contempt for the people, for democracy and the rule by democratic law! It is about time too, that the people of the Nations and Nationalities of Ethiopia rise and refuse to give evil another day under the sun! It is time for the march for life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, democracy, peace, rule of law, brotherhood, honor, war against poverty and underdevelopment, and above all, for Mother Ethiopia!
It is time for the Federalist Parties (FP) to get serious and to be clear on what must be done. There are those who advocate for dialogue involving all the various political parties representing all the Nations and nationalities of Ethiopia “including Prosperity Party!” No, there must never be a dialogue which includes PP! There must never be an accommodation of evil and its protagonists! There cannot be a dialogue which includes those with blood, treason and national shame in their hands! It is one thing to have dialogue with one with purely different political platform but another with one which uses political platform to disguise its horrendous crimes! The Federalist Parties must decide once and for all, that their mission must be to bring those who have committed so much harm to our people and country, to court, and never to negotiate with those merchants of evil! The FP must know that to do so, is not only the antithesis of democracy and the rule of democratic law but worst, it is tantamount to rewarding evil for its evil track records! If we are to end tyranny once and for all in Ethiopia and ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to become the only way of life in Ethiopia, we must unearth the seeds and roots of the evil devouring our country from every inch of the Ethiopian soil and burn it to gas, never to give birth to seedlings ever again! And if the FP is not ready for that, it must be the only path for the people of Tigray for Tigray!
For the past three years, PM Abiye had said a lot which add up to genocide against the people of Tigray. No hyperbole here; we have the list of what was said, done, when, where, by what means, for what end etc. From his very own mouth, the state media he controls, his cohorts at the highest level, hire killers, territorial claims, ethnic driven discrimination, imprisonment, food as a weapon by blocking roads and impounding trucks carrying essential necessities for the people, declaration of war on multiple occasions, mocking and ridiculing the people and their nationally and internationally commended democratic election, and so many others too many to count. In fact, there is nothing more he has to say to make it unequivocal that PM Abiye’s intent has been not only to get the people of Tigray on their knees but to erase them from the face of the earth! And despite all of these, the people of Tigray have shown an extraordinary level of restraint and chosen and rightly so, ensuring peace, and democratic and economic development over war! But we cannot live any longer with such a threat hanging over us, and with the fear of war to keep out investors from investing in Tigray! We cannot have a rogue thug and his henchmen and women in Addis Ababa to threaten our people not only with their livelihood but with their very existence! It is time to say enough is enough and do what must be done, after all, the Tigray election was not only a covenant with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but it was too, a legal mandate for an offense in self-defense by any means necessary! That includes legal proceedings in Tigrayan courts, no matter where the protagonist of evil reside or hide! And that is not only a measure we must take to bring lasting peace to our people but also a measure of our commitment to democracy we enshrined with our vote!