by Robele Ababya, December 11th, 2012
The late Zenawi kept all top state secrets close to his chest and went to his grave without sharing any of those to his successors. Therefore there is no doubt that damaging disarray and or split has taken center-stage within his party. The extinction of TPLF and the emergence of freedom for all Ethiopians are inevitable.
There is fear in the vanishing TPLF powerhouse; now is the time to finish it off by staging a debilitating civil strike and invigorating the ongoing Ethiopian Muslims’ demand for civil rights.
The mighty CPSU (Communist Party of the defunct Soviet Union) disintegrated leaving in its wake ruins upon which the process of building a democratic system flourished in earnest. The slogan “to each according to his needs and from each according to his ability” has long gone down the drain. Anti-corruption storm is sweeping across China, which is good news for the democratic opposition at home in Ethiopia and in the Diaspora – and a nightmare to the corrupt TPLF top officials. In the circumstances the TPLF borne out of Marxist Leninist League of Tigray has no chance to rebuild its gravely ruined powerhouse as argued in the paragraphs below.
Let us face the fact that the USA has to protect its huge investment on military assets in Ethiopia primarily for fighting Al Qaeda’s surrogate the Al Shabab in Somalia. This was the reason that President Obama had to call Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and talk to him by telephone at the critical time that successor to the late tyrant was in doubt. The call was interpreted by many that the Ethiopian constitution must be upheld and that the Deputy Prime Minister should take over the reign of ‘power’. Obviously this would put the new PM under the control of the US authorities by proxy.
The constitution had undergone rampant breaches before and President Obama did not make any comment in public; but he had to do it this time in the aftermath of the demise of Zenawi in order to safeguard the security interest of his country. Many Ethiopians were disappointed by the eerie silence of his Administration on the frequent grave violations of fundamental human rights perpetrated by the Zenawi regime in breach of its own constitution in full view of Western democracies for years.
The security interest of the United States is to be appreciated and respected, more so following the gruesome event of 9/11. However alliance with dictators that terrorize their own people contradicts with the tenets of the United States government as a moral leader of the free world. It is hoped that President Obama will do the needful to address the plea of Ethiopian democrats in the opposition not to side with dictators in Ethiopia in his second term. He realizes to the detriment of TPLF that he has now the best chance to provide moral leadership worldwide and be remembered as one of the greatest Statesman and champion of human rights.
The EU will surely follow the leadership of the USA in protecting its security and economic interests. China will be careful not to infringe with the security interests of the Western world; it will preserve the huge trade relations with the Western democracies while protecting its mammoth investment in Africa. This is a good sign in view of the new Chinese leadership, spearheaded by General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi Japing, dedicated to fighting corruption as its top priority and to opening up to the outside world. He is making an impressive move by setting example already.
The Renaissance Dam (RD) is going to be a ‘white’ elephant and a source of regional instability if it is not scaled down to the satisfaction of all stakeholders – Sudan and Egypt with Ethiopia holding a veto power over the development of the Blue Nile River Basin. There is no agreed cost/benefit analysis on return on investment for the RD. Scaling it down at the present site and building others in the Amahara, Oromo and Gambella regions for irrigation farming and power generation on Bile River tributaries would make a lot of sense, but the repressive regime is not open to reason. Why build the RM given that a study has shown that 50 smaller dams can be built and effectively used?
Surely, the top EPRDF/TPLF leaders suddenly find themselves in a hostile political environment. The days of Stalinist hardliners and corrupt goons remaining within the TPLF are numbered. The spate of their recent gruesome acts of human rights violations and Kangaroo Court rulings are testimony to their desperate situation.
Outcome to date of the power struggle within TPLF
Personalities involved in power struggle and their fate is briefly presented below:-
1. Azeb Mesfin: She is a political liability to her crumbling party and a disgrace to the nation. This mother of corruption has so far left no stone unturned to cling to power as demonstrated by her adamant refusal to vacate the Palace until forced to do so via government notice. In her desperate effort she went as far as revealing the secret plan of her husband to make Tigray an industrial hub of Ethiopia not to mention her betrayal of her Amhara ethnic parents. Her fate is awaiting trial and disgrace for her corruption. She is politically dead.
2. The senile octogenarian Sebhat Nega: Mr. Nega has been the arch-ideologue of the TPLF right from the start. I was reliably informed that the Party rules were so radically that in the nascent period the communist members were forbidden to wear jewelries including wedding rings. The old Party boss turned multimillionaire had the audacity to state his pleasure that his TPLF party has triumphantly erased the influence of the Orthodox Tewahido Christian Church and the Amharas from the Ethiopian politics. Despite his bragging, his effort to reinstate the old guards purged or forcefully retired by Zenawi has failed miserably; he is now politically irrelevant. He was so right when he said that Zenawi went to the grave taking the TPLF with him. It is most probable that the remnants of the TPLF in power will make the rich old man Nega showcase of corruption in order to gain favor with Western donors.
3. Abay Woldu: This man is a diehard Stalinist and the self-appointed custodian and implementer of the legacy of Zenawi in 40-years of homework for that matter in the 21st century. This is a pipedream of an individual fossilized in communist ideology in his effort to resurrect an outdated ideology buried with the collapse of the gigantic CPSU in the 20th century. The seed of the ideology was planted at the wrong time and at the wrong place in Tigray, the bastion of Christianity. So for Mr. Woldu the choice is to reform or die.
4. Others like Abay Tsehay, Seyoum Mesfin have been shown cold shoulder by the late tyrant during his lifetime. Ambassador Birhane Gebrekristos is one of the filthy rich TPLF top officials probably awaiting trial for corruption.
Dominant groups in Ethiopian society
According to the CIA World Factbook the population of Ethiopia was 93,815,992 (July 2012 est.) with demographic as follows:-
Ethnicity: Oromo 34.5%, Amara 26.9%, Somalie 6.2%, Tigraway 6.1%, Sidama 4%, Guragie 2.5%, Welaita 2.3%, Hadiya 1.7%, Affar 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, other 11.3% (2007 Census)
Religions: Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, traditional 2.6%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.7% (2007 Census)
Languages: Amarigna (Amharic) (official) 32.7%, Oromigna (official regional) 31.6%, Tigrigna (official regional) 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%, English (official) (major foreign language taught in schools), Arabic (official) (1994 census)
The combined total for religion is 96% of which Muslims constitute 33.9%. Amharas and Oromos are dominant ethnically with a combined total of 61.4 % and 64.3% linguistically. The scared die-hard communists at the top leadership of TPLF are hell bent on destroying the major two ethnic groups politically as well as unleashing further unconstitutional crackdown on religious affairs such as not allowing elections at Mosques.
It would be a shame if opposition democratic forces fail to cease this moment of political turmoil within the TPLF in the wake of Zenawi’s demise in order to mobilize the Ethiopian people to partake in a coordinated debilitating civil strike to dislodge the oppressive TPLF regime from power. It should be understood that peaceful struggle can turn into armed opposition in self-defense by joining armed opposition forces that should be on standby for this eventuality.
The Egyptian progressive people forced their President Morsi to “annul his power expansion decree”; their gut should inspire the enslaved Ethiopian people in the struggle for freedom, liberty, and democracy under the supreme law of the people, by the people and for the people.
The President of AEUP was right in his interview with ESAT Radio on 04/12/12 when he said that the Prime Minister presented to the Parliament what was written for him to read adding that he is suffocated by tight control of the TPLFites.
The PM should make a bold move to bust the trap in which he is being held by thugs – for example by opening the political space and releasing all political prisoners in Ethiopia including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, et al. His recent shameful denial in an interview with Aljazeera denying that there are no political prisoners in Ethiopia would soon prove suicidal.
The struggle at home, as the sole determinant factor for success, critically requires material and financial contribution from the Diaspora in addition to intensifying moral, political and diplomatic support. However, since the inordinate multiplicity of opposition parties is a hindrance; the parties should make more effort to bring down the number through mergers.
In closing I would like to renew my solidarity with the constitutional demand of Ethiopian Muslims and plead with fellow Christians to join them in public demonstration at home in overwhelming numbers.
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!