TPLF’s Effort to Antagonize the People of Tigray with other Peoples of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa is a Leadership Myopia.
By Abel Kebedom
By now it is a public knowledge that when the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) started its arms struggle on 8 February 1975 its objective was to separate Tigray from Ethiopia and establish a Tigray Republic. Also, history tells us that TPLF’s objective to establish Tigray republic was a source of friction between TPLF and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). EPLF wanted TPLF to work with other Ethiopian opposition groups such as the Oromos, Sidamas, Amharas and Afars and become a unifying force in Ethiopia. However, few years before the downfall of the former Ethiopian military regime, realizing that its objective to establish a Tigray republic was not realistic, TPLF caved in to EPLF advice and vowed to work for one Ethiopia. Accordingly, TPLF was accorded with total political and military support from EPLF that was later became critical to its victory.
However, TPLF’s vison for one Ethiopia was not the Ethiopia EPLF wanted TPLF to work for with other Ethiopian opposition groups. Instead of working with other Ethiopian Opposition groups, TPLF wanted to establish Ethiopia that is controlled and colonized by no one but TPLF. It is this erroneous vision that is making the people of Tigray a victim of TPLF and the enemy of other people of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. To satisfy its ignorant greed, TPLF used the people of Tigray as a ladder to the helm of power in Ethiopia. Currently, for anyone who visited Tigray it does not take much time to realize that the Tigray people are the most abused and oppressed people in Ethiopia. However, to make them look as if they were a willing supporters and beneficiaries of the system, TPLF did not waste time to sprinkled Tigreans in key Federal government positions and sensitive government departments in Ethiopia. Moreover, Tigreans were used by the system as primary trusted messengers to extinguish any fire that the system thought was a threat to its power. Overall here are some specific examples that show how TPLF worked hard to antagonize the people of Tigray with other people in Ethiopia and the horn of Africa early on. Tigrean University Students were recruited to be TPLF confidants and work against other Ethiopians.
The time was summer 1991. It was the time when University students who were sent to Blate Military Training Center by the Dergue regime were returning to their specific cities. Like other Ethiopian University students large number of Tigrean students were descending in to the TPLF controlled Mekelle. Observing the sheer number of Tigrean University students in Mekelle, TPLF wanted to take an advantage. Soon after, TPLF called a meeting of Tigrean University students who were spending the summer in Mekelle. The meeting was headed by TPLF central committee member and then Mayor of Mekelle city, Zerai Asgedom. After a full week of political indoctrination, TPLF divided the students into groups. The grouping was based on the University the students came from. Later, the TPLF cadre Zerai Asgedom asked the students to be TPLF minders in the University and the city they were going to return to the following fall. Each group had its own leader and was linked to the tope TPLF security agent in each state in Ethiopia. Recruiting Tigrean university students who aspire to reach the highest academic status as minders to the system is a crime. It is a crime that makes them a target by other fellow students who hail from other ethnic groups. However, for TPLF leaders who had the agenda of controlling and colonizing Ethiopia at any cost may have not been a problem. After all, for them Tigryan life is expendable any way.
Tigreans were exclusively recruited and placed in higher and sensitive government positions.
Prior to 1991, because the fighting army was made of mainly Tigreans, it was reasonable to expect for the army to be dominated by Tigreans at least for the early years of TPLF rule in Ethiopia. However, Ethiopians expected other positions that were opened after TPLF controlled Ethiopia to be open to all Ethiopians regardless of Ethnic identity or political orientation. To the contrary and dismay of the Ethiopian people TPLF continued to fill almost all open positions by trusted Tigray nationals. Accordingly, Airforce, Airlines, immigration, security and Telecommunications were reserved for Tigreans only. Such discriminatory behavior did not emanate from TPLF’s interest to benefit Tigreans. It came from TPLF leaders’ erroneous agenda of controlling and colonizing Ethiopia at the cost of the Tigray people. As a result, the sensitive government positions the Tigreans held made them implementers of key repressive TPLF policies directed at the people of Ethiopia. Consequently, it brought them into direct contradiction with other Ethiopian who oppose the regime and the Tigray people have been made responsible for TPLF’s atrocities in Oromo, Amhara and Annuak land. The recent departure of Ethnic Tigreans from the Amhara region is the result of TPLF’s decades long effort to antagonize the people of Tigray with other peoples of Ethiopia.
Tigreans were key implementers of TPLF order to attack refuges from South Sudan.
Regardless of the multiple wars that were raging in different parts of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the many economic problems, the history of the Ethiopian people was history of peaceful coexistence and friendship. Taking revenge on people who are not suspected of any crime and sheltered as refugees was unthinkable and despised by all Ethiopians. In fact, this was one of the cultural heritages that made Ethiopians humane and civilized. However, that changed when TPLF assumed power in Ethiopia. For the first time in history, in 1991, TPLF Targeted South Sudanese refugees who were sheltered in Gambella. As a result, thousands of women and children were killed, died of hunger, taken by flood or eaten by crocodiles. The Army that committed the genocide against women and children in Gambella was TPLF army the controlled Ethiopia in 1991. As a result, again Tigreans are willing or unwilling participators of TPLF crime against the poor refugees of South Soudan. The current anonymity that we see between the tribes in South Sudan and Ethiopia is the result of the irresponsible TPLF action on the innocent thousands if not millions of refugees of South Sudan who were sheltered in Ethiopia. The atrocities TPLF committed against the people of Ogden and Somalia are naked acts of genocide that should be left to history.
Tigreans implemented TPLF order to deport Eritreans.
Regardless of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia that lasted for three decades, Eritreans in Ethiopia have lived in Ethiopia peacefully for generations. Although many of them knew they were Eritreans in origin the majority were born and raised in Ethiopia. However, for the second time in Ethiopian history, TPLF targeted innocent Eritreans who made Ethiopia their home. When TPLF decided to deport Eritreans from Ethiopia in 1998, Tigreans not only were at the for front in identifying and collecting Eritreans who used to live all over Ethiopia to deportation centers like some cattle, they were the primary confiscators of the hard earned private property owned by the nearly 80,000 Eritreans deported by TPLF from Ethiopia. Again that makes Tigreans willing or unwilling participators in the crime TPLF perpetrated against innocent Eritreans.
Many Tigrean Diasporas are ardent supporters of TPLF Crime in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
To separate Tigreans from other Ethiopians and secure their allegiance to TPLF, officials from TPLF have created Tigray community organizations in many parts of the world. Knowingly or unknowing such TPLF affiliated Tigray organizations are supporting TPLF atrocities against the people of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Spearheaded by TPLF media organizations such as Aigaforum and Tigrai online, such organizations are defending whatever wounds the system inflicts on Ethiopians and people in neighboring countries. Again TPLF action to organize Tigrean diaspora separate from other Ethiopian Ethnic groups and making them supporters of the system places them in direct confrontation with the other diaspora communities that are known to oppose TPLF atrocities against the people of Ethiopia. Supporting a system that uses snipers to kill innocent women and children in the streets of Ethiopia is not only careless also not well thought action that undermines the historical relationship of the Tigray people with other peoples of Ethiopia.
In summary, TPLF’s objective is to use the people of Tigray to implement its vision of TPLF controlled and Colonized Ethiopia. The recent uprising in Oromia and Amhara regions of Ethiopia shows that such vision is wishful thinking, misguided and unattainable. However, what is clear is that, in the process the Tigray people are becoming victims of TPLF greedy politics, policy of domination and colonization of other ethnic groups in Ethiopia and neighboring countries. History tells us while governments are temporary, the relations between people is permanent. Hence it is high time for the people of Tigray to tell TPLF to stop making them Partners of its crime against the Ethiopian people and neighboring countries.