A new political party has been established in Tigray, a regional state in northern Ethiopia, which Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) considers as its political sphere of influence.
The new party is named as Assimba Democratic Party (ADP) and it is officially registered with the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
The Board has recently made reforms among which a criteria to register as a political party. A party that is vying for a federal power need to have 10,000 signatures and those ones who seek power at the regional state level need to have 4,000 signatures.
Dr. Asgedom is one of the founders of the party. He is also serving as a coordinator. In an interview with Alem Fisseha, VOA Amharic reporter based in Mekelle-Tigray, Asgedom said that “border” is one of the top political agenda for his newly founded party.
He took time to elaborate on what he means by “The Border.” And he made a reference to the border with Eritrea and also intra-regional boundary within Ethiopia.
The highest body of the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which is said to be on the verge of its demise as member parties are working towards realizing a single unified party, decided in 2018 to accept the Algiers Agreement fully as part of a measure to pursue a rapprochement foreign policy towards Eritrea.
And the Algiers agreement is said to have awarded the disputed border Badme, over which a two years bloody war was fought for, to Eritrea.
“The border with Eritrea has been controversial and the two people – especially those living on both sides of the border have a concern because of the situation,” Asgedom told VOA Amharic.
Assimba Democratic Party says it will work to find ways of peacefully resolving the border issue.
Regional boundary wise, two areas currently under Tigray regional state, namely Wolkaite and Raya, are contested and people in the region are struggling to cast aside what they say is imposed Tigrean identity.
Until TPLF took over power in 1991 and dominate the central government, the two regions mentioned were rather parts of Gonder and Wollo provinces respectively.
Assimba Democratic Party position is not clear on that.
Good governance, equity in infrastructure development, broadening the political space in Tigray, improving the quality of education and fighting unemployment are also ideals that the new party is struggling for.
The party also said that it supports and accepts the existing constitution, which is in a way a precondition to be accepted by the NEBE, although there are provisions that need amendment. Yet, the parts that need amendment are not elaborated.
Currently, there are six parties in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Assimba party says it has similarities and differences with TPLF. The difference is mainly ideological, according to Assimba party coordinator. TPLF sees the world with revolutionary democracy political lenses whereas the new party espouses social democracy focusing on the poor.
The new party also accuses TPLF of lacking the determination to address demands from the people.
On election matters, Assimba believes that election should be held every five years as stipulated in the constitution. However, the party does seem to believe that the current situation in Ethiopia is not conducive to carry out the election. Yet, if the Ethiopian government adheres to its decision to conduct the election as scheduled, it is ready to take part in the election.
Assimba is a place in Tigray that former Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (EPRP) members fondly remember for it was their military training place and their stronghold late 1970.