November 24, 2017
The following is a response to an article written by Ato Berhane Kahsay that appeared on Tigrai online on November 21,2017 entitled “Woyane Tigrai: 60,000 reasons for an immediate and Comprehensive overhaul”
Ato Berhane says that “TPLF has finally come to its senses” and by stating his view this way, admits what we already know i.e., that TPLF is not only senseless but this state of mind drives its opportunistic and parochial politics and policy. Ato Berhane’s suggestion for the TPLF to “upgrade” itself does not make sense because , ever since the TPLF came to power, its party’s ideological and political line has been that Ethiopia’s “primary problem/contradiction is the nationality question” and the way forward is through “revolutionary democracy”. TPLF’s 26 year party line and practice is coming apart at its seams and spectacularly floundering . What is there to “upgrade” about this failure?! Ato Berhane says the party has become “purposeless” and by TPLF’s own admission “rotten to the core and corrupt”. TPLF is on its death bed, or to use Ato Berhane’s words “fighting for its survival at this juncture”. The time for TPLF to reckon with its ideological and political bankruptcy is
here. The Ethiopian people demand that the TPLF dictatorship end and the country move forward to a new democratic beginning.
It is not only TPLF’s “poor performance in relation to governance or the economic development” that contributed to its present day predicament as Ato Berhane claims; the fundamental problem is the absence of democracy and the TPLF never governed democratically. The TPLF has been an exclusive, narrow-minded, tribal, dictatorial organization and today, in Ato Berhane words “bogged down by infighting”. Today’s hallmark of TPLF governance is the absolute denial of rights and the continued terrorization of the people by its military and security forces.
Ato Berhane seems to miss Meles when he says “since his(Meles’) demise, the EPRDF has never been the same for lack of a strong and charismatic supremo capable of unifying and leading the various members of the front”. If that is Ato Berhane’s way of admitting that the remaining top senior TPLF cadres are a collection of bankrupt morons devoid of any leadership qualities, then he is only accepting what has been known among Ethiopians for awhile. I would like to paraphrase what one respected Ethiopian observer and historian assessing EPRDF’s governance said after Meles’ passing. He said Meles died without leaving the ‘password’ for TPLF/EPRDF leaders implying the party’s governance has been in disarray ever since . I say Meles’ bankrupt ideological and political line has failed and its negative impact on the nation’s polity is coming into fruition as demonstrated by the continued and escalating crisis in Ethiopia. The EPRDF state continues to be at war with the Ethiopian people.
Ato Berhane writes that TPLF senior cadres (some who have been members of the party since the early ‘70s) compromised their “political line” and must be replaced by young “Turks and the intelligentsia”. The reality is the “political convictions” to use Ato Berhane’s words of the Tigrean youth or “young Turks” is not fundamentally different from the convictions of the old TPLF leaders. The young Tigrean “Turks” have developed a sense of entitlement, and are also adept at deception , thievery and corruption. The “Turks” have absorbed all the decadence that came with their new class status. The corrupt old TPLF cadres definitely influence these “Turks” and this has created new opportunists skillful at disseminating TPLF’s tribal propaganda. None of them have shown interest in
joining the Arena party nor have they shown any solidarity supporting the democratic demands of the rebelling youth in Ethiopia.
Ato Berhane seems upset that ANDM and OPDO have now “a strong say within the EPRDF” and “steer the organization in the direction of their choices” . Ato Berhane should know that this is a sign of power struggle , but he seems ill at ease that these parties are not jumping to TPLF’s dictates as they usually do; it is too bad Ato Berhane doesn’t recognize ANDM’s or OPDO’s decision making as a healthy development. Furthermore, Ato Berhane doesn’t seem to appreciate also that OPDO showed better leadership than TPLF on the 2017 Irreecha celebration in Bishouftu and other regions, ensuring that these events took place peacefully. Recently OPDO also took the initiative and led members from a diverse sector of the Oromo community to Bahr Dar in a celebration of togetherness with the Amhara bretheren. I believe this kind of act is what enhances understanding among ethnic/nationality groups. The TPLF followed this OPDO act , but a sizable military presence and show boating of TPLF cadres in the audience was less convincing and certainly uneventful compared to the oratorical unity and oneness speech of Ato Lemma Megersa during the OPDO and ANDM meeting in Bahr Dar.
Ato Berhane says “EPRDF owes its existence to the thousands of valiant Tigreans who perished during the 17 years long armed struggle..” Ato Berhane should ease off with this stultifying narrow minded propaganda. Ato Berhane must know the 17 years fratricidal wars killed over hundreds of thousands people of all nationalities in Ethiopia (i.e. Eritreans, Tigres, Amharas, Oromos, Guraghes, Somali, etc.). It is puzzling as to why their sacrifice is less and that his heart bleeds only for the loss of lives of the Tigrean tegadaley.
Ato Berhane echoes TPLF’s propaganda by stating “Recent turbulences in Oromia and Amhara regions, is led by chauvinists and narrow nationalists”. The “turbulences” he calls are spontaneous mass uprisings of Oromos and Amharas and strikingly, these uprisings had no leaders. What Ato Berhane claims is not factual because the Amhara rebellion was instigated by TPLF’s land grab of Welkait Tsegede that angered the people and the Oromo youth rebellion was instigated by their opposition to TPLF’s master plan for expanding Addis Abeba. The Oromo and Amhara expressed solidarity when the Amhara movement first demanded TPLF stop the blood letting of Oromos followed by the Oromo movement demanding the blood letting of Amharas to stop. Has Ato Berhane
forgotten the horror of the TPLF bullets raining on the 2016 peaceful Irreecha celebrating crowd and the melee that killed an estimated 58 to a few hundred people? The world got a glimpse of TPLF’s horror unleashed that day. TPLF has continued its murderous policy on these movements through its security apparatus.
The people demand the freeing of political prisoners and the chant “down down Woyane” is heard across the country. This was not chauvinist or narrow nationalist issues as Ato Berhane claims. It is a spreading national democratic movement. TPLF/EPRDF lacks not only “competence” that needs upgrading as Ato Berhane asserts but it is time for new democratic leadership. TPLF/EPRDF’s continued violence on the people of Ethiopia to remain in power to use Ato Berhane’s words, is “plunging (the country) into an intractable civil war”.
By:Tentag Tegley Email:Tentagtegley@gmail.com