Truth is the first causality; Ethiopian fundamental interest is the second causality in the entire formation, fabrics and mission of the so-called Alliance for Freedom and Democracy: conspiracy and sabotage against Kinijit (CUDP).

By Andinet Lagere, 6 August 2006

In May , 2006 desperate, power- driven  individuals, who are neither accountable to the  Ethiopian Diaspora, mainstream Ethiopian society, nor who  enjoy legitimacy to make or break a deal on its behalf unpredictably assumed a pact which most Ethiopians dismiss as shambles, ridiculous and reckless. The content of the AFD, window –dressing since the so-called deal, the timing and procedural impropriety involved in this matter unveils the political naivety, total incompetence and at best  stupidity of the actors particularly those on behalf of so called  Kinijit representatives.

In blatant terms, the deal is no deal. The so – called deal is by no means, any standard the reflection of Ethiopian ethos, remotely squares with the tenets of Ethiopian paradigm for unity and sovereignty. AFD accepts Article 39 of the Ethiopian, current divisive constitution, Article 2 of the AFD Statute reconfirms, “maintains the respective political programs” of those who signed the  so called deal and the preamble of same Statue reassures us of its alleged mission” to shape a political order and a system of government …Make no mistake such a pact  is anti thesis to Ethiopian principled maxim of unity and integrity, democracy, equality and justice to all its citizens irrespective of this or that ethnic group. There is no any substantive rationale why such divisive legal instruments have been put in place if the parties’ intention was to struggle for democratic, united Ethiopia, if indeed their political drive was a genuine alternative to ethno-centrism: these legal jargons, Statute and Memorandum of Understanding shall only help to further disintegrate Ethiopia and not sustain even what remains to be Ethiopia to date. In essence, the pact is systematically conspired, sabotaged to instigate another version, brand of social engineering based on ethnicity. It is hard to find a shred of doubt that such a deal is no more than a sell -out of  Ethiopian fundamental interest, uncompromised stance for unity; betrayal of Kinijit’s leadership at Kalti in custody and at best, a mockery of those killed in pursuing the causes of Kinijit: a treacherous stance which no Ethiopian should afford fighting back.

Why was Kinijit a success?   

One would argue that Kinijit was a success mainly for two reasons:  firstly, the hey days of TPLF (Woyane) are gone, the tyranny, blind domineering nature of its authority has reached its final phase and thus the laws of negation in the offing; secondly,   the central vision of CUDP that of unity and democracy managed to win the mind and heart of the Ethiopian people. One would further extend this argument that kinijit was popular, persuasive, and credible because of its drive, aims for a united and democratic Ethiopia – nothing less. The success of Kinijit may not be exclusively or exceptionally attributed to this or that party or individuals per se, the entire credit goes to ordinary Ethiopians in the Home soil. Throughout the last fifteen years individuals, parties have come and gone, leaving their immense contribution, sacrifice behind, giving their precious life, wisdom to the cause of the Ethiopian people: unity and democracy.

The pertinent issue here is one of principles, doctrines that govern Ethiopia, perpetuation of Ethiopian identity, sovereignty, equality, civility, the formation of united and democratic Ethiopia as opposed to ethnic division, discord …fragmentation into ethnic enclaves. This vision alone and only this vision was the cause of the  ultimate success of Kinijit and not the accomplishment of disgraced, incompetent and power- driven  individuals from Kinijit – NA,  Kinijit International (KI). It is weird to imagine, contemplate for a second, the reasoning of these individuals, unless sabotaged, when they agree to disagree with the fundamental existence of the Ethiopian people as Ethiopians, when they agree to vary the name Ethiopia, a name neither Bible nor Quran afforded not to mention; the name which nothing in principle, should and could have been compromised whatsoever. A name not only Ethiopians but also most Africans proud,  enjoy taking such  a brand  as a generic name, and most importantly a name, which most Ethiopians managed to, safeguarded at the cost of their life, a name which  many are still  prepared to die for.

Further, the agreement to vary the working language of Ethiopia was a facade.  English was the language, which the AFD endorsed for its communiqué at the time of formation of the alliance. This was not only a sham, but also not an Ethiopian mentality, at best, it is an enemy mentality, degrading, reducing Ethiopian status quo to rubbles whilst we know they needed interpreters to understand English.  It is also disturbing to hear, and read when they agree to disregard the achievements of the May 2005 Ethiopian election, the sacrifice of Kinijit that begets the individuals themselves, self-denial or sabotaged!  Or what? And why? AFD denied the name Ethiopia, (remember this is not a question of lexicon) Amharic the working language of Ethiopia and denied to recognise the achievements of the 2005 election the very day it was born!!! … query? Surly, a deal with the OLF, ONLF, and SLF at the cost of Kinijit, the bigger picture of Ethiopian existence, unity and sovereignty is a disgrace to the good name and work of Kinijit proper, and most importantly a mockery at those who have lost their lives for same cause. The KI have shot themselves on the foot, their pact is plainly, unequivocally a sell- out of Ethiopian national interest, misrepresentation of the noble goals of Kinijit proper and magnanimity of the Ethiopian people.  

Sell- out of Ethiopian fundamental Interest 

The formation of AFD is a sell-out mainly for three reasons: firstly, taking into account its political program, pledge and convictions of its leaders at Kaliti, and majority party members; CUDP, stands for civic, peaceful and political means of struggle and not otherwise.  KI’s alliance with armed, ethnic based groups is a sell –out of principles, doctrinal values that marked Kinijit beyond and above  most parties. Secondly, the deal is a sell –out of its leaders who are currently suffering in custody, those who made the deal should have thought the implication of the deal and its far-reaching consequences in a desperate regime where everything is possible. The dealers should have taken care of  their actions  not to play into the hands of the ruling clique, they should have thought of providing the risk of evidential proof, alibi which the PM used in his address to the Ethiopian  Parliament. Thirdly, let us assume that the pact makers  have taken their country beyond and above the party leaders, though such a rationale is questionable, it could be highly contested that their deal is neither good to the country nor to Kinijit itself.  However, it could be equally argued and the argument won if it is to promote the ideals of Liberation Fronts and Shaebia at large. It would be utterly impossible to calculate the political damage and its implication in its entirety: it is troubling if this was the whole purpose of Kinijit and the blood split throughout the country! Could we afford such a sell-out mission to prevail or challenge to resurrect the status quo?

Except, Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front, all the National Liberation Fronts OLF, ONLF and SLF view Ethiopia as colonizer and consider themselves as colonised by Ethiopia; their political program, course of action is tailored to achieving independence for their respective ethnic group, though without any legitimate mandate. They all are based in Eritrea and sadly, appears to have learnt the Eritrean experience, though we challenge if at all there was  anything worthy  to learn, to champion their cause. In order to save time and space, I would cite a paragraph from one the above National Front’s political program, to help scrutinize the noxious mission of these so-called Fronts.

    The political program of the Ogden National Liberation Front reads as follows:

”… recognising that  our country has been colonized against our will and without our consent by Ethiopia… the ONLF declares  that Ogaden issue is not a border dispute between two neighbours, Ethiopia and Somalis as held by the former , but rather a conflict  between a colonized people and their colonizer…” (Emphasis mine) 

The underlying principle, historical make –up, tested throughout time and space is the overriding drive of Ethiopians for Ethiopian unity and sovereignty which indeed graciously culminated during the May 2005 election. Ethiopians for unity and democracy was the most celebrated,  franchised opinion that galvanised different national, cultural groups , individuals throughout Ethiopia, and a choice honoured at the sacrifice of Ethiopians, though targeted by a regime whose very existence is contingent to the very existence of rival   linguistic and  cultural  groups.  The vote for Kinijit should have heralded the defacto defeat of TPLF, its satellite parties and the basis of its constitution. By implication, this should have given a lesson to Fronts that operate based on ethnic xenophobia, including those nominally operating in Eritrea such as the OLF, ONLF and the SLF, whose very existence and achievement very much depend on ethnic cleansing.  In principle, May 2005 did not only oust parties from office, but also ousted rotten, archaic ideologies, doctrines of secession and exclusion. Ethiopians vote for inclusiveness, unity and democracy should have shattered, dashed the hopes and aspirations of those ethnic perennials, though, incompetent, short-sighted kinijit  KI, either by sabotage or conviction  are in a desperate attempt of a  rescue mission: so called Kinijit representatives should have known that this was a risky gamble, recklessness and  a gamble that could potentially instigate further break –up of Ethiopia – they should have known that the OLF leadership ( you may read Dr.Shigut’ s latest speech) simply promotes the very ideals of secession, nothing less: the argument to the contrary is naivety, a cover up, an insult to our intellect  and  idiocy at best

The so-called Memorandum of Understanding duly signed by kinijit forming part of AFD should be read not as a memorandum of understanding but of misapprehension, confusion,  illusion and at best a conspiracy.  We are not sure if inept, self-assumed kinijit representatives have understood the entire fabrics, purpose of the memorandum.  We are not sure, if they have understood the gist of so-called Statute, made –up of Council, which they are a part, we are puzzled if they are aware of its operational mechanisms- modus operandi: the existence an Alliance within an Alliance! We are not sure if they have realised that their role is merely instrumental to ethnocracy. We are not sure if they were entitled to draw a bizarre memorandum of understanding and Statute, whilst Kinijit’s Memorandum of Understanding is with the Ethiopian people at Home, its adorned Statue is its own constitution, which the Ethiopian people endorsed. It is our understanding and finding that  the entire set-up, rationale, mission is orchestrated well beyond the imagination power of those involved in the theatre, particularly of those so-called Kinijit representatives.  According to reliable sources, EPLF (Shaebia) of Eritrea is not only behind the scene but also at the centre of this architect; in fact the maker and broker in the creation, and nurturing of AFD. One would enquire why? The answer is tri fold: to help finalise Shaebia’s irredentist policy, secondly to help end OLF’s and ONLF’s political program for secession, and thirdly to undermine and shatter the cause and organisational vision of Kinijit proper.

Shaebia has always been very disturbed by the development of Ethiopian politics, particularly of Kinijit. Sheba’s ideologues had warned Afeworki to better stay with TPLF than Kinijit. Kinijit’s political ideal, political program and its support by majority, mainstream society had shocked the Eritrean secessionists if they had not found a way out of their alleged, potential threat – Kinijit. Thus, wrecking, dismissing Kinijit as a significant party or at least reducing it to an insignificant entity, by making it a part of an alliance, led by OLF/EPLF was the conspiracy and Machiavellian move wrapped up with high skill and experience.  Shaebia knows OLF as an easy ride and that they both shared same “problems” and fought “Amhara, colonizers and domination” together.  Sadly, Shabea’s long time experience, and skill in lodging a draconian, move against Ethiopian fundamental interest was incomprehensible, beyond the understanding power of our so-called kinijit representatives, who suddenly chose to be the Poodles of  Shaebia and OLF: so called kinijit representatives should have known that the Ethiopian people is not prepared to consume such a treacherous and shameful act. Kinijit representatives should  have known that the Ethiopian people is not against Meles Zenawi because he is Tigrian but because of his ethnic policy,  because of his sell –out policies, likewise any group, with a similar brand , willy-nilly stand,  with toxic ideology has no place in Ethiopia.

Make no mistake the pact is a sell- out; Kinijits (NA, KI) have fallen into the hands of Shabia without a sober examination of consequential damage that this potentially might inflict in Ethiopia. They have compromised the Ethiopian unity and identity.  It should have been known that Shaebia is unpopular with its own people, notoriously undemocratic  , particularly known for its dictatorial bearing let alone to the people of Ethiopia, it considers as an archenemy: it was this year in May 2006, that Shaebia  repeatedly kicked dishonoured our flag in the presence of international community when it celebrated its national day for independence ( at the Asmara stadium), it is this year,  the Afeworki army rushed to Somalia seeking to fight  a proxy war against Ethiopia.  It is same this year our inept so-called representatives accepted a deal cooked by Shaebia …for what? 

Shaebia is well aware; a strong and democratic government in Ethiopia is a deathblow to its expansionist, irredentist and anti Ethiopian policy. Shabia has learnt the political program of kinijit, was following the rhetoric behind the May 2005 election and beyond. Shaebia was seriously worried, troubled if Kinijit had replaced TPLF.It is this wrapped political manoeuvre, sophistic Shaebia that our inept representatives failed to understand, and to our dismay, advised us to follow their footsteps: it is an insult to our intellect, particularly to Kinijit leaders and to the Ethiopian people. Whilst they had no courage to discuss the issue with the Ethiopian public, they chose to seal such a fundamental issue with Shaebia irredentists: that …that is too excessive …and may not go without a price to pay.

 Meskerm Atalay so called commander of Ethiopian Peoples Patriotic Front (delegated by Mussie Tegene from Eritrea – a myopic individual who for ulterior motives tried to theorize the repression of BUDA – Gojam within the Amhara…, a failure), currently a failed asylum seeker in Germany and groups from Kinijit NA, including Solomon Bekele an ordinary business man (US) who had no clue to politics plotted to make such a draconian deal: AFD. Later on so called Kinijit International had to rubber stump same pact with no any amendment and without any consultation- dashing legitimate expectation of Kinijit followers: probably, they had no power to amend such a document without the permission of Shaebia.

Meskerem of EPPF was smuggled to Holland by Eritrean Embassy cars in order to form the so-called Alliance. He was chosen and prepared for this purpose knowing not only of his stunning naivety but his foolhardiness, literally a peasant with no experience, and exposition to such responsibility. Tesfaye Getachew and others from the Front  were either killed or excluded knowing they would not be instrumental to Shaebia and the causes of OLF.  Seleshi from London was advised in secret to attend same conference to help interpret for Meskerem the commander from English to Amharic, the working language of the so-called Alliance. People who know Selehi doubt his efficiently in the language; doubt his political stance and most importantly his sudden appearance to the scene of politics. Until very recently, he has been an advocate of TPLF, constant visitor of Ethiopia and people doubt of his recent change and if he had actually changed for the better.  Flamboyant Solomon, a businessperson in the US is better known for his tax evasion, love of wine and woman, nothing more.   So called Kinijit appointees are notoriously known for their incompetence, who have not yet finished their internal fight for positions within the AFD and within their own Committee. Sadly, the political background of so-called KI is worrying and precarious, for example if you take Andargachew Tsige, his political outlook  is  same to TPLF. One would note, his disagreement with the TPLF some years ago was not a mater of principle but of position and authority, was not a matter of substance but of prestige,  forget what he talks now. For a better understanding of this individual you may have to read “yamara tigil keyet wedeyet”, a brochure (edited by TPLF ideologues) intended to oppose the then AAPO, led by Professor Asrat and followers. His brochure perfectly argues for the formation of nation states within the framework of ethnic perennials, an attempt to show his dedication and loyalty to Meles Zenawi. He is an individual who utterly agreed and worked with TPLF’s ethnic ideology with conviction until he left TPLF for personal vendetta.  The political stance of those so-called KI raises questions than answers, a troubling development. Sadly, it is these individuals for some reasons who assumed to take such a leadership with no apparent   legitimacy.  It appears that they do not understand or they do not want to understand  that they are no body to make or unmake a deal on issues that matters to Ethiopia. For sure, such an issue is of great importance to Ethiopian integrity, sovereignty, existence and needs people of high calibre, authority contingent to democratic representations and not by any backdoor means whatsoever.

To add bitter to our injury, in defiance to our intelligence and most importantly the Ethiopian people, we were told that the
Alliance was called by OLF, chaired by Dawd Ibsa, leader of the OLF and the AFD. Later on, we were served with so-called Memorandum of Understanding and Statute as an outcome and deliberation of the Alliance.  In this theatrical incidence, the first causality was truth and the second causality is the Ethiopian people and Kinijit proper simply because there was no truth about it. The truth about it is that this whole episode was designed, orchestrated and cooked by Shaebia in Asmara and staged in Holland. The actors of the episode ( Kinijit, EPPF, OLF,ONLF,and SLF) have lied about the truth; the Ethiopian people should know the truth, deserves the truth but the only truth: that the episode  was hatched, nurtured,  masterminded by Shaebiea. On the day of the formation of the alliance, a senior Asmara official was seen in the vicinity, abetting, procuring the conduct of the meeting from a hotel room. The Ethiopian public has the right to know the truth. Enough is enough; days have gone when the interest of individuals prevailed over and above mother Ethiopia. Days have gone where few power – driven, inept individuals decided over the fate of a nation, a nation with more than 70 million people. Once again, enough is enough, and such an injustice, mockery has to stop, Ethiopians should and can struggle better knowing the truth about it. We use this opportunity to call those who know the in and out of this sabotage and design, those who know Shabeya’s hand behind the Alliance, to come openly and tell the truth for the Ethiopian people. Not to do so, has no alternative explanation but to stand with saboteurs and betray Ethiopian interest.  In the event that you are not prepared to tell the truth, help the Ethiopian people  know the truth, help the Ethiopian cause for unity and democracy, we will have no option but to mention your names to the Ethiopian people: remember this Ethiopian saying” minim biteman merz anitetam!
 The AFD is not a necessity; could kinijit finish its course of action in anyway? 

The formation of the AFD may be desirable but not a necessity.  It is desirable if and only if secessionist Fronts are prepared to stop singing the separation of their ethnic groups from Ethiopia. The archaic mentality of seceding Ethiopians from Ethiopians is not only bizarre but also irrational. They should be most welcomed if prepared to solve multifaceted social, economic problems within greater, historical Ethiopia. Their language of “colonizers, colonized” should be a language of the past. They may have to agree that the central problem of Ethiopians is luck of genuine democracy, equality; economic and social injustice not necessarily unleashed by such a nation; freedom from shackles of tyranny including elective dictatorship of any draconian nature.   

Diverse Ethiopians irrespective of their linguistic and cultural differences have maintained the unity of Ethiopia for centuries. The Amharas, the Ormos, The Tigrians and others have fought together for same destiny; sustain the unity and sovereignty of Ethiopia with great courage and commitment. Ethiopians of cross culture, linguistic divide have a lot to share than divide them. Shared values, culture, language, genealogy, psychological make- up of all Ethiopians outweigh alleged differences.     Secession, ethnic xenophobia, blind nationalism, organised national movements are of recent phenomena in our history.  Ethiopia had survived for centuries with no such blind dogmas, and could maintain its integrity without such ethnic ideology.  The TPLF, OLF, SLF and other ethnic based movements were brought to the scene by ethno- centric ideologues who wee not prepared to solve national issues by any democratic means or by way of conviction that such a nation would not  resolve  its dilemma unless by  way of secession. This is an ideology and remains to be one of vestige doctrines adorned by few ethno-centrists and not necessarily shared by the ethnic group, which they allege to have represented.

 It is contended that ethno-centric movements are not a necessity, and in most instances are not desirable. In fact, they are redundant and are reduced to no more than nightclubs, as is their status in the civilized West. Ethno-centrism is pushed to the margin; there is no appetite to consume such an ideology.  Such an ideology is incompetent to the values of civic democracy and is only a talking shop in this 21st century. Their respective seats in parliaments (Europe) is insignificant and their role nominal, diminished with no credibility

whatsoever.  Extremely diverse societies such as India, US are essentially driven by political outlook such as liberal, conservative, republican, democratic. In most diverse, developed and developing countries  the language of secession, self- determination is excluded in their constitutions , taking into consideration the historical remoteness of such contexts and most importantly valuing the importance of living together in a global world that constantly changes for the betterment of all people, not ethnic per se.  Sadly, ethnic ideology is given unnecessary, too excessive weight in Ethiopia by some ethno-centric minded individuals, like Mr Zenwi who claims to be representatives of this or that nation though, with no any democratic consent. Thus, the sliding of Kinijit into such an alliance is uncalled for, unwarranted, reckless and such a social engineering is pathetic.

Kinijit proper is the reflection, legal and democratic expression of the Ethiopian people.  The aims, content, short and long – term vision of the organization tallies with the entire fabrics of the Ethiopian people. Following the May 2005 election, Kinijit is the undoubted democratic expression of all people in Ethiopia: the Amhara, Oromo, Tigre , Gurage, Agew, Sidama, Somali, Gumuz etc Composition of  leadership, composition of rank and file members of party, sympathizers, reflect all people in Ethiopia and not this or that ethnic group or ethnic based party. Ethiopians voted Kinijit knowing that it stands for all people, knowing that it reflects the political, economic, cultural fabrics of all and most importantly knowing that kinijit promotes civility, equality, justice, modernity to all its citizens. This has given kinijit representational authority to stand and speak on behalf of all Ethiopians unlike OLF, ONLF and SLF. One would note that, TPLF is in power not because it won the election, not because it won the heart and mind of the Ethiopian  people but by a barrel of gun, by killing MPs, innocent citizens, intimidation of  the voting public, day light robbery  and most importantly by imprisoning its dear sons and daughters.

Unchained or surviving  kinijit members, supporters both at Home and Diaspora have a duty to continue same cause, take actions endorsed by the Ethiopian voting public and the leadership at Kaliti and not the leadership at the Diaspora.  The organisational, political vision of kinijit proper is simple and clear. It is a force of unity and democracy alone, the leadership is known for its track record of fighting for Ethiopian unity and integrity: this and this alone was the causal analysis of their success, won the trust and confidence of the Ethiopian people against all odds: it is this cause and this cause alone that so called KI had to learn, though they wretchedly learnt the Shaebian way of thinking. Those so-called representatives should have learnt that ethnic tailored organisations including TPLF were unsuccessful and voted out of office, if rule of law had prevailed. This has laid down the course of choice, set the political direction and substantive nature of the struggle. Same analogy could be drawn to all ethnic based organisations: The Ethiopian public appears not to have appetite for ethnic based organisations including the OLF, ONLF, and SLF. The Ethiopian people are aware that these ethnic based organisations brought nothing except division, discord, ethnic cleansing.  One should note that OLF does not mean equal to the Oromo people (OLF not =Oromo people), same could be said to SLF and others. The Oromos, the Ogadens the Sidamas are better off without OLF, ONLF and SLF, and can better resolve problems in democratic Ethiopia with fellow Ethiopians.  

Unlike Liberations Fronts Kinijit is the legitimate and democratic expression of  the Ethiopian people. Hence, its active members, supporters  could pursue the course of action as envisaged by those in Kaliti, and not by disillusioned so- called representative of the Diaspora ( KI). The KIs  are in breach of trust and confidence of the Ethiopian people. Therefore, popular, genuine Kinijit members, supporters should continue their relentless struggle against the TPLF, making sure that such a fight does not beget a similar version such as the AFD, however complex and multifaceted it might be. The AFD is another brand of TPLF, abetted, and procured by Shaebia, a monster that could potentially unleash ethnic cleansing, total chaos in the country. The formation of the AFD is probably the unintended consequence of the absence of proper leadership, which culminated by the imprisonment of its leaders.  In the circumstance courageous, determined kinijit followers, party members should do their own job,  pursue their own course of action as was  envisaged by Kinijit Proper and not by riffraff’s, Trojan horses  of the OLF/ Shaebia.  “MINIM  BITEMAN  MERZ  ANITETAM” 

The writer could be contacted

Published in: on August 6, 2006 at 11:06 pm  Comments (10)  

The tyrant defying the will of the people: the issue of an all-Ethiopia resistance forum

By Kahsay Berhe
August 7, 2006

6. Ethnic based parties (Oromia and Tigray) The Ethiopian people suffered under serfdom and the policy of assimilation under a unitary state for a long time. The resistance of the people had made it difficult for the power holders to deny the people their rights to self-administration, use of their language or any language of their choice, take care of their heritage etc. Today, the state can no longer deny the nationalities these rights. These rights do not pose danger to the unity of the Ethiopian people. Ethiopia’s democracy and prosperity can be based on the rights of the people and not against the particular interests of the people.Ethiopia is an old country and internal wars and resistance against foreign intruders dominate most of its history. That is our history. People disagree on the interpretation of that history. Thorough study of our history will bring us closer. I thank professors Mohammed Hassen and Bahru Zewde who contributed to who we are. The problems arise when ethnic politicians use the past grievances for political mobilization. The facts are that the Ethiopian people demonstrated repeatedly their unity and struggle to change their lives for the better.The issue at hand is how to devise all-Ethiopia political vision and corresponding organizations in order to institute a democratic system that enables the entire people to determine the nature of the government and the distribution of state power between the center and the regions according to the principle of Subsidiarity.I will take the ethnic politics in Tigray and Oromia to illustrate the general problems of the ethnic based political movements and their relations to the general question of democracy and peace. The policies of the ethnic parties in Tigray and Oromia seemed to be decisive for the success and failure of the movement of the Ethiopian people. The strategy of the TPLF to dominate Ethiopian politics through divide and rule and the impotence of the OLF and other independent ethnic political organizations to adopt national political programs that address the particular and common interests of the people had render the struggle of the people ineffective. The problems in Oromia and Tigray differ in form. In Oromia, like in other parts of the country, the people are condemned to indirect rule of the TPLF while the people in Tigray suffer under the same brute force.The TPLF is no doubt a thorough separatist organization. The group in power has consistently infringed on the unity of Ethiopia. They authored and distributed a program for the secession of Tigray from Ethiopia in 1976. The content of the anti-Ethiopian manifesto was discussed neither by the rank-and-file members of the TPLF, nor by the members of the Central Committee. It was written by Sebhat Nega, Meles Zenawi and Abay Tsehaye and taken to a printing press in the Sudan and distributed by Seyoum Mesfin. (Kahsay Berhe, Ethiopia: Democratization and Unity, 2005, p. 70).

The May 2005 elections have revealed, more than others have, the true nature of the EPRDF. During the eve and the after math of the elections the loudest and sharpest opposition against the opposition and the mass media came from the TPLF and its affiliated Websites, mass associations. TPLF functionaries disseminated centrally prepared Communiqués in the name of Tigrean Communities in the Diaspora against the incarcerated elected leaders of the opposition. Why are not there similar reactions in the other EPRDF member organizations and their supporters? Why is not there condemnation against the opposition and the press by the various ethnic groups in Ethiopia? Why is Tigray singled out by the EPRDF as vulnerable to the ‘planned genocide’?The people of Tigray have been victims of a tiny group of power thirsty led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Today, several interdependent factors make reforms in the TPLF very difficult. Firstly, there is no culture of open discussion in the TPLF. Any internal problems are solved by intimidation, mass imprisonment, and killings. Force has always been used to get rid of internal and external contradiction.Secondly, The TPLF controls the major production and service industry in Tigray and the financial and trade industry in all parts of the country. The main capital sources include Relief aid donated by the international community for the famine stricken people of Tigray since the mid 1980s, state assets such as banks seized when the TPLF marched to Addis Ababa in 1991, deceitful transfer of state owned capital to the TPLF firms in the name of privatization and conspiratorial trade activities of party firms. The TPLF leaders will fight with all means to retain their political power without which their business empire would not be safe at all.Thirdly, TPLF leaders had killed thousands of innocent fighters and civilians in Tigray (Tesfay Atsbeha and Kahsay Berhe, Can one Acuse a Dictator in Ethiopia?, 1997). Then, after the seizure of state power in 1991, the TPLF consolidated and extended its killing machine to all parts of Ethiopia. Through the regime’s state-terror, thousands of innocent Ethiopians were killed in Awasa, Gambella, Gonder, Jimma, Jijiga and many times in Addis Ababa.

Both Meles Zenawi and members of the splinter group that were dismissed from the TPLF in 2001 do not show any interest in unity and self-determination of the Ethiopian people. The splinter group has not organized itself in any open political form. However, its organ, Hizbawi, propagates not for an all-Ethiopia political and organizational forum but is engaged in competing with the TPLF for the control of Tigray.

It is in the nature of ethnic politics to pursue policies of hate and division in the people. In 1998-2000, the regime in Asmara invaded part of Tigray and bombarded Tigrean towns and schools. The entire people of Ethiopia grieved with the people of Tigray and paid with their dear daughters and sons to save Tigray. Did Meles Zenawi and co. acknowledge the extraordinary solidarity among Ethiopians? Of course, they did not. After the May 2005 elections, Meles Zenawi and co. accused the elected representative of the people of planning genocide against the people of Tigray. How can the very people, who paid with what they have including their daughters and sons, become a threat to the people of Tigray and/or elect forces with the mission of eliminating Tigreans? How can people elect people who intend to set the people against each other? Tigreans should not let themselves deceived by a small clique and take the excesses expressed by some fellow Ethiopians against Tigreans as evidence of the allegation by Meles Zenawi. Some fellow Ethiopians may express their disapproval on the behavior of Tigreans because they rightly expect us to stand for the victims of the tyrant.  

The TAND is the only existing independent Tigrean organization. It is a member organization in the UEDF. Its founders are former TPLF leaders and other Tigrean intellectuals. To my knowledge, the TAND is the only ethnic-based organization that had openly declared its intention to make a union with other political organizations.

Recently, Aregawi Berhe, Chairman of TAND, assured me that TAND stands for Ethiopian unity and for the formation of an all-Ethiopian political party through union with other political parties. He further told me that TAND had since 2000 been calling for a merger with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP), All Ethiopia Socialist Movement (MEISONE), Ethiopian Democratic Union (EDU), Ethiopian Medhin Democratic Party (MEDHIN), Gambella People’s United Democratic Front (GPUDF), Oromo National Congress (ONC), Southern Ethiopian people’s Democratic Coalition (SEPDC) and Ethiopian People Federal Democratic Unity Party (Hibre Hizbe). To my mind, it is necessary that the concerned parties react in one way or another on the TAND offer. It is also important that TAND adopt an all-Ethiopia political program and organizational structure on its own rights.

A political organization strives to run state organs as a one party with parliamentary majority, as a coalition partner at a level it is registered, and its programs cover. The political interests of the Ethiopians of Tigrean origin who had settled in Shashemene are focused on the city council of the town, then on the state of Oromia and finally on the Ethiopian federal state. Organizationally, they can preferably join multi-ethnic parties or Oromo regional organizations or form caucuses and register with the corresponding state organ in Oromia.

The TPLF had been diligently working to instill into the people’s mind the false notion that the interests of the, people of Tigray are identical with the interests of the TPLF which, quite clearly, is wrong at least in two ways. Firstly, it denies the people the right of choice. In every ethnic group there is, of course, a plurality of interests. The diversity of interests and tendencies makes it difficult for a single ethnic party to represent the large variety of interests of its people. The interests of the different social groups within the ethnic group cannot be represented by one ethnic organization. (Kahsay Berhe 2005, pp. 264-265)

Secondly, The TPLF is an undemocratic force that practices Stalinist centralism. Its members and the people it controls do not have any right to oppose its programs and policies. The people of Tigray have not yet had the chance to elect their leaders. Without the existence of a free election, how can a political party claim that its interests and the interests of the people are equal? Even an elected party cannot claim to equate its interests and the interests of the people entirely because elections are made for a specific period of time and on certain issues.

The TPLF planted the OPDO in Oromia to use it to control the people of Oromia. It also tolerated or even encouraged and supported some of the ethnic organizations in Oromia in order to set them against each other and to keep them away from politics in the center. The Oromo people have consistently struggled for the right of self-determination for several years and paid dear. In the 1970s, the Oromo people and the democratic forces in Ethiopia abolished feudalism and consequently millions of peasants regained their right to their land. As the Dergue collapsed in 1991, the OLF, the major independent organization at that time sought participation in the TPLF government as regional force. It worked out for the self-administration and the use of local language with success. These moves were also part of the TPLF’s policy of divide- and -rule.

The so-called kilils and self-administration enabled the Meles Zenawi group to impose its indirect rule on the people through marionette ethnic based organizations. Any regional administration will not be able to become autonomous and democratic as long as it is controlled by one party system headed by a tyrant at the center. The distribution of power does not reflect the size of constituency with regard to the ethnic groups.  Separatism and ethnic mobilization leads to mutual destruction and enslavement of the people. Ethiopians deserve a government of their own, formed by the people and responsible to the people. The formation of such a government system is feasible only when the majority of the political elite from all groups of people talks to each other and create common forums for the people. The interests of Oromia for self-determination and development could be best served through the institution of a democratic federal republic of Ethiopia. The particular concerns of the regions could be satisfied by allowing the regions far reaching self-administration, which will eventually benefit the entire people. Development is regional in nature. The initiative of the Mecha-Tulma association in the 1960s and its attraction of thousands of non-Oromo Ethiopians is one example.The recent alignment and realignment between various forces in Oromia and the recognition of cooperation with other groups to form unity with equality is a positive development in Ethiopia. The formation of the FFOS out of the Oromo Abo Liberation Front, Oromo Liberation Unity Front, Oromo National Liberation Party, Gada System Party and Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement with the aim of self-determination for Oromia is a positive development which could go further to enhance the development process of the entire Ethiopian political spectrum.I think it would be proper to insert a few paragraphs here on the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy, AFD that was formed after I had prepared this article. The struggle of the people in Oromia, especially in the schools, universities, towns and cities as well as the constructive activities of Ethiopian democrats and intellectuals from Oromia wound up the struggle for concessions from the central state and promoted the struggle for the struggle to assume state power. This development could have persuaded the OLF to decide to join hands with other Ethiopian democrats. With the formation of the AFP, Ethiopian unity and the prospective for democracy, equality and prosperity has become brighter than any time in the past years.Opposition to OLF came, for obvious reasons, from the TPLF. Critics from other groups and individuals are not as such against the OLF but they demand for more clarity on the unity and future of Ethiopia. The main partner of the OLF is CUD. Ethiopians from Oromia are playing big role in CUD. Therefore, the alliance is not between Oromo and others. It is an alliance of organizations. Our concern is that the alliance must be based on the level of the current level of struggle of the people. The alliance must not be confined to unseat the incumbent tyrant but for the democratization of the Ethiopian state and society in unity. The unity of Ethiopia with equality and liberty of its people forwarded by the CUD and accepted by the people must be the basis for the alliance of the AFD parties and for further cooperation with other forces. The ethnic parties may inject what they cherish much must be incorporated in democratic and united Ethiopia.As to the connections of the OLF with the Eritrean regime, we must believe in the wisdom and patriotism of Ethiopians. What is wrong in establishing relations with Eritrea? The question is on what are the relations going to be based, what short and long-term interests of Ethiopia are pursued. There are several potential areas of interests for the people on both sides of the border. It is fair to say that the OLF had persistently resisted Somalia’s attempts to annex Ethiopian territories. OLF leaders did not compromise our people and territories for support from Somalia. They rarely put their organizational interests above the interests of the people and territory of the country.

The divide- and- rule policy pursued by the incumbent regime during the last fifteen years has further divided the Oromo politicians. I think the unity and liberty of the Oromo people is achievable in the context of a democratic and federal Ethiopia. The people need to build democratic regional organs and at the same time form political and organizational alliances with the other regions to participate in a central state, determining and controlling it jointly.

The TPLF had organized the people over the years in the name of liberation. Now, through the financial and political resources at its disposal it had corrupted hundreds of people to run the machine of control. Resistance to Meles must assume the demand for the rights of the people. The political organization must take form of national form. Tigrean ethnic organizations like the TAND and TPDM must ally with other political organizations of their choice. Tigreans will be free and live in peace in free and peaceful thiopia. Therefore, Tigreans must stretch their hands to their compatriots in the entire country.

7. Concluding Remarks

To be continued.

Published in: on August 6, 2006 at 10:03 pm  Comments (5)