By Amanuel Biedemariam,
In May of 2005, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – EPRDF regime conducted a national election and the people of Ethiopia voted to oust the late tyrant Meles Zenawi and his EPRDF – TPLF party overwhelmingly.
Meles Zenawi and his TPLF – EPRDF cronies did not envision the outcome. Addis Ababa saw the largest demonstration ever. The newly formed party Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) posed immediate threat to the ruling party. Hence, without hesitation and fear of repercussion, Meles did what he does best; jail and kill the leaders of the opposition en-masse.
Meles Zenawi’s response was swift-brutality executed with determination and without hesitation. Ethiopian security forces killed 193 demonstrators and over 30,000 Ethiopians were detained. Subsequently, in November of the same year, live gunfire was directed at innocent demonstrators where over 60,000 protesters and the coalition leaders were arrested.
Right then the TPLF – EPRDF regime of Meles Zenawi lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Ethiopia. Ethiopians in the Diaspora took to the streets all around the world and protested condemning the barbaric actions of the TPLF regime. Ethiopians believed that the heinous crimes committed by the regime was worthy of international attention and appealed to the leaders of the US, UK and others.
In July of 2005, two months after the bloody sham election, George Bush and Tony Blair assembled a group of African leaders as key figures to represent Africa’s interest in the G8 gathering in Gleneagles England. Meles Zenawi was one of the leaders that represented Africa to the dismay of Ethiopians that demonstrated against his presence.
To funnel funds, reducing poverty in Africa became the new rallying cry and Meles Zenawi was selected as a de facto spokesperson for the new “Make Poverty History” campaign George Bush and Tony Blair pushed.
In September of 2005, Meles Zenawi was a star in a star-studded Clinton Foundation event that paraded him as a savior of Africa. Meles was in CNN with many high-profile leaders and stars, and he was celebrated as if he liberated Africa. The tyrant gloated while Ethiopians were boiling.
In December of 2006, Meles invaded Somalia and became indispensable partner on the war on terror. Meles was highly valued mercenary that the US and EU exploited in their quest to dominate Africa. They sold him as a pragmatic, articulate, progressive and development oriented African leader that could do no wrong.
Fast forward to 2015, President Barack Obama and his top national security aid Susan Rice reveled in the 100% election victory and rewarded the regime led by the puppet prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn by a visit to Ethiopia making Obama the first sitting American President to visit Ethiopia.
Not to be outdone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Ethiopia while the country is embroiled with uprising-on-fire and when the regime is essentially at war against the people. And said,
“Germany has offered to train Ethiopia’s police to deal with the sometimes-deadly demonstrations.”
This is a pattern and a dance that western powers play and have played for long. This is an illegitimate regime at war against the people of Ethiopia being legitimized by Washington and allies so they can keep pushing their agenda through it. This mercenary regime is vital to their Africa agenda and its ouster can destroy their agendas completely. This is a prototype mercenary regime willing to do anything western powers want in South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea or anywhere.
The minority regime in Ethiopia knows this well and thus the regime has never been accountable to the people of Ethiopia and the region. This means the regime and western powers are joined at the hip. It also means that Ethiopians struggling against the regime must include this reality in their calculus.
The reality in Ethiopia is grim. For those who follow the developments closely, it is extremely difficult to predict what the future of Ethiopia will look like. It is also extremely difficult to piece together all the moving parts and make sense of it. However, one thing is very clear, and that is, the current situation in Ethiopia is unsustainable.
Here are some reasons why:
- The tourism industry in Ethiopia is damaged and in complete holt. Regardless of how the regime tries to spin the situation, tourism is done for good at least until this regime is in power because the instability in the country is clear for the world to see.
- Investments in Ethiopia are no longer viable for international investors. Foreign investments in various parts of Ethiopia have become targets and thus, fair game for destruction because these investments benefited the regime and not the people. Foreign investors have lost hundreds of millions of dollars after demonstrators torched them to the ground.
- The economic infrastructure in the nation is broken because most of the key segments of the economy are under siege since they are owned by the minority clique running the country. Trucks loaded with goods are stopped and destroyed. Road blocks are everywhere making transportation of goods without military escort impossible.
- Under the state of emergency lockdown, open communication has become a threat to the regime’s survival. Communication is vital for commerce and the regime has literally banned all communication.
- The people of Ethiopia have decided to not engage in commercial activities. They have been demonstrating by closing their stores. These campaigns are designed to impact the economy.
- Ethiopia cannot afford to pay its troops under the current state of the country’s economy. With the economy under duress, hard currency is hard to get. Western donations that have sustained the corrupt regime thus far will no longer be able to afford to support the fight against the ever-growing internal armed struggles, growing resistance against federal police in the country and huge number of Ethiopian troops occupying Eritrean territories to mention some whilst spending huge sums of money in South Sudan, Somalia and other places.
The simplest way to measure the volatility of the situation in Ethiopia is to look at the developments of Northern Ethiopia.
The Tigray Manifesto clearly states that the number one enemy for the people of Tigray are the Amhara. The Amhara’s in turn accuse the TPLF for taking their land, for forcing millions out of their lands, ethnic cleansing, mass imprisonment of youth, deliberate rape, torture and mass killing.
Per various accounts, the Amhara people are living in exile just like Palestinians in their own country. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has taken their land and made it part of Tigray. This aggressive move can only lead to disastrous escalation that will impact the future of the two regions and by extension the country. Thus, the Amhara people are waging armed struggle while the TPLF is showing no sign of compromise. Instead, the TPLF is instigating ethnic hate by scaremongering, telling the people of Tigray, the Amhara and Oromo are ganging to kill you.
Furthermore, the Oromo people have been resisting the TPLF for a long time. The demonstrations that erupted throughout the country started in Oromia. Yet, the TPLF is defiant and determined not to bring a lasting solution. To make matters worse, the TPLF is unable and incapable to bring solution because resolving the Oromo question will mean the end of TPLF as the Oromo constitute majority in Ethiopia.
Additionally, the minority regime has failed to foster friendly relation with any ethnic region in the country. To the contrary, it has killed, created havoc, committed genocidal acts, mass killings in Ogaden, Gambella and all over Ethiopia.
The above-mentioned complications pose major challenges and the solutions are not readily visible. Worse yet, the TPLF is making the situation worse by imposing draconian measures that will escalate the instability.
The latest reshuffle of the cabinet members exposes the deadly nature of the group, their unwillingness to see the reality on the ground and bring a viable solution to stabilize the country. When the people are asking for fundamental and complete overhaul, the TPLF reshuffled itself and told the world and Ethiopia here is the reform we are willing to give.
This is just part of a trend that is pushing the country to the brink. How can a government that just won 100% of the electorate give a decree of “State of Emergency” and reshuffle itself soon thereafter?
Today Ethiopia is moving in different directions fast. Ultimately, the solution must come from Ethiopians however, it will not be easy or smooth. It may even be bloody.
Ethiopia, over the past seventy years was governed by leaders that were subservient to the interests of superpowers that undermined the interests of the masses. It was led by a monarch, a military dictator and ethnic minority imposing its will on the majority for decades. The uprisal is a result of decades of poor governance and ethnic mistreatment that boiled over.
Ethiopia has been subservient to the needs of US, EU, China, Russia and others. The African Union that is sitting and witnessing the horror in silence is also a reason why Ethiopia’s woes will not get international attention.
That said, for the first time in their history, Ethiopians have a window of opportunity to start fresh and become independent nation free to make their own choices.