The End of TPLF
May of 2012, I wrote an article called, 'The End of TPLF.' The basic premise of
the article was that Meles Zenawi has sold-out the cause that brought him to
power, the people of Tigray, and the very organization he rode to power, the
TPLF. I opined that Meles Zenawi was focused more on his and his wife's power,
the agendas of the US and other powers while ignoring the people of Tigray and
the TPLF. I opined that Meles put the people of Tigray in bad position because
the crimes he committed were in the name of Tigray. What I opined then has been
realized and the TPLF has seen its best days and faces a future of uncertainty
and certainly one that will pin the people of Tigray in an awkward position for
a long time.
was incredible to witness the mourning Meles Zenawi was accorded. It was
neither warranted nor traditional and, it was unsettling in many ways for it
ignored the crimes his criminal regime committed against innocent Ethiopians in
the Ogaden, Gambella, and Oromo etc.. It ignored the slaughters and the
genocides. It ignored the hundreds of thousands that perished in a senseless
war against the people of the Horn. It ignored the tens of thousands displaced
needlessly. It ignored the failed leadership that gone awry creating ethnic
fault-lines, a recipe for breakup of a nation. It ignored the flippant two
timing personality that he took to the grave.
is understandable for those that believed in his leadership, those that
benefited from his days in power and those that supported him, to grieve in a manner
they choose. However, the whole charade was a reach and certainly one for the
it unfolded, I was thinking and asking questions like, what are they truly
feeling as they cry. I asked do they know what tomorrow will bring. Do
they truly believe that Meles has done well by them? What about for the long-term,
and most importantly, whom would they feel confident with as the future leader
of Ethiopia? I suspected however, that they are confident, and that they
believed to have a good grip of power and, that they are not feeling threatened
just yet because they believed (I assumed), that all the key Tigrayan actors
will represent their interest to the end. I presumed, they will feel Berhane
Ghebrekristos, Samora Younis and the other Tigrayans that dominated Ethiopian
power structures will somehow revive a Meles like persona to perpetuate his
legacy. And I felt, all the internal juxtaposition was aiming for that outcome.
that happen? No. But most importantly, would the people have cried the way that
they did had they known that the transition would turn out the way that it has?
I sincerely doubt it.
Friday Sep 21st, Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn was sworn as Ethiopia's
new Prime Minister. That day will also officially mark the end of the TPLF
hegemony of Ethiopia! Will the new administration governs differently in a way
that benefit all peacefully? That is a different subject for another day but I
wish the people of Ethiopia peace and success.
to what his Tigrayan supporters would have made themselves believe .i.e. that
Ethiopia was a rich, progressive, democratic country-advancing fast with
all types of accolades and high growth percentages; according to author Dr.
Dambissa Moyo, under Meles, 97% of Ethiopia's budget was based on foreign aid.
Not to mention the unlimited funds Meles Zenawi received for peacekeeping
missions, for his interventionist agendas in Somalia and funds he collected in
the name of fighting terrorism. That meant that Meles was essentially leaving
on handouts. However, we have to give Meles credit for turning begging and
extortion into an art form.
that means is the incoming PM will receive all the funds Meles Zenawi used to
get directly. The US, Western donors and other supporters will not care to
search for TPLF supporters and satisfy their needs. They will keep empowering
Hailemariam to ensure stability. . Through the money that he receives,
Hailemariam can afford to maintain the status quo. The obedient soldiers are
fine but those that resist will lose their benefits. Those that are in high
military positions will have to accept the new leader because their future will
be threatened with sanctions otherwise. What Meles did to forward his hegemonic
agendas was empowered the military particularly the ranking files by providing
good lines of credit, in other words, they were hired guns, Hailemariam could do
there is no easy path for the new PM. Many entrenched rich powers like Azeb
Mesfn will try to sabotage the process. However, the risk to their riches will
be far greater through sanctions and travel restrictions hence, not wise to
stand on the way of Hailemariam.
appears to be the cleanest transformation of power since the Arab spring thus
far. The power brokers have done a masterful job in masking this transformation
as a grand event by creating mass hysteria to quell the questions that needed
to be asked. The people of Tigray were the primary target and were duped while
mourning for nearly two months.
to Meles's death, no Tigrayan TPLF supporter would have believed that matters
will unfold in the way that they have. The sudden death caught all by surprise.
The faces told everything from sadness, to shock and disbelief. However, what
was more unexpected was the fact that Meles deliberately recruited his
successor to be from outside-anticipated circles. That was another shocker
since they expected to be on the helm for a while.
reaction to the transition by various quarters tells where the realities are.
From the American side, former ambassador David Shinn expressed
satisfaction saying, "I think that it was almost predictable in that
Hailemariam was being groomed by Prime Minister Meles to succeed him." And that
he was not surprised that Hailemariam came to power.
What I found extremely surprising was how Aigaforum, the
mouthpiece flipped so fast from a diehard TPLF into the new woyane
revolutionaries. In reaction to Ambassador Shinn's statement Aigaforum made the
following sarcastic remark,
"It is amazing and sad people like David Shinn have not grasp
what the woyane revolution is all about yet! The main reason the woyane
revolution succeeded against all odds is because it was a popular revolution
any Ethiopian of any color can easily adapt. The woyane revolution that
started in Tigray is borderless today, thus, it does not matter from which
ethnic the next prime minister will be. What matters is if the person
understands the essence of the woyane revolution! Laboring on the number of
Tigrean population is meaningless from this perspective. The revolution has
spread and today millions of Ethiopians from north to south are the proud
promise keepers of the woyane revolution." End quote. Emphasis mine.
I could not help but laugh reading this sarcastic remark.
However, I am compelled to quote it as is, since it supports the point. There
is nothing called the Woyane revolution. The woyane revolution was defeated
when millions came out and voted it out in 2005. Weyane was imposed on the
people of Ethiopia. But what this statement tries to do is appease TPLF
supporters by assuring them with this quote,
"The woyane revolution that started in Tigray is borderless
today, thus, it does not matter from which ethnic the next prime minister will
be. What matters is if the person understands the essence of the woyane
This statement is telling TPLF supporters not worry because
Hailemariam Desalgn espouses their views and values, thus, there is no cause
for alarm. The statement recognizes their concerns and addresses it in a coded
way. The reality however, not everyone shares that sentiment.
On recent interviews, Sebhat Nega tried to undermine the
process of the transition prompting Mr. Mesay Kebede to respond by saying,
"What Sebhat is in reality revealing is the conditional
nature of his Ethiopianism. He is Ethiopian so long as the constitution,
imposed by the TPLF and conducive to its hegemony over Ethiopia, is the supreme
law of the land. What this means if not that Tigray will not agree to remain
within Ethiopia if the TPLF loses its hegemonic position. I cannot speak for
all Tigreans, among whom many are dedicated Ethiopians, but Sebhat's position
shows that the leadership of the TPLF has been and still is appropriated by
individuals who have always posed the issue of Ethiopian unity in conditional
The revolution Meles Zenawi led TPLF brought was hegemony that imposed its will on
Ethiopia and the entire region. It was futile and unsustainable. It was very
destructive, deadly and it denied the people of the region a sense of normalcy
by fomenting a perpetual state of conflict in the region. That is because it
did not have interest in peace since it could not survive in peaceful
environment. TPLF's main enemy was also democracy and the rule of law since it
could not survive in a democratic environment as witnessed in the 2005
elections. Nearly every constituency of Ethiopia and the entire region
vehemently rejected the minority regime. Thus, it could not afford to risk its
ouster through the ballot box. Therefore, Aiga's woyane revolution claim is an
attempt to throw white towel, soft landing of sort.
challenge the minority regime brought on the people of Ethiopia was expressed
by Mr. Mesay Kebede when he said, "I cannot
speak for all Tigreans, among whom many are dedicated Ethiopians."
It is debatable
the extent of support the TPLF garnered from Tigray. However, regardless of the
size of the support, Ethiopians that opposed Meles and the TPLF were cognizant
of the ramifications of alienating the entire Tigray population based on Ethnic
affiliation with the TPLF. Hence, there was a measured approach on dealing with
them. That bodes well for the maturity
of the people of Ethiopia and the region. However, it does not mean that people
stopped their observation.
decades of being-marginalized, over the last 21 years the people of Tigray
realized some success. However, the question lingers, whether they shared their
success or allowed the success to become a source of resentment against them.
Article 39 guarantees Ethiopian regions to secede if they so choose. Sebhat
Nega was amongst those that hinted the possibility. The question is what
percentage of people from Tigray will chose to be independent? On the other
side, to gauge the Ethiopian psyche, what percentage of Ethiopians would like
Tigray to be independent?
first question will ascertain the commitment of the people of Tigray to the
rest of the country. And the second question is a gauge how the people of
Ethiopia perceive the people of Tigray for how they handled the nation when in
power. Regardless, the people of Tigray have a great opportunity to move
forward on a positive path since what took place over the last 21 years was not
ideal for the people of Ethiopia and the region.
Zenawi was loyal to no one. His loyalty was for himself and his family. But he
served his Western masters to his grave. In the process, he stripped-bare the
TPLF from the national leadership position that it ones had. Meles Zenawi
deliberately separated it from Ethiopia's power structures to ensure the
interest of the West.
what role can TPLF play, how can it evolve to serve and, has it achieved what
it struggled for? What will the TPLF do and how will it deal with the people of
Tigray, the people of Ethiopia and the people of the region. There are many
questions but the key is how it will affect the political, economic, social and
military dynamic of Ethiopia and the region. One thing for certain, it will no
longer have Meles Zenawi on the helm and, it will also no longer have direct
access through which it could access international resources.
is time for TPLF to do some serious soul searching and hopefully come out as a
force for peace. It must come to the realization that the power it had was
baseless and without core because it ended with a single event, the death of
Meles Zenawi. The political dynamics of the region has changed dramatically
overnight. Hence, it is incumbent on its leaders to redirect the gear in
different direction for they risk marginalizing the people of Tigray once more.
It is a historic responsibility and opportunity with serious ramification for
the nation and the region.