BY TECLE ABRAHAM HABTEMICAEL
In TPLF Woyane’s Tigrai, fear, and uncertainty about the future are throwing all Tigra elites helter-skelter scrambling to extricate themselves from the Woyane quagmire. But none of them is dealing with
the critical issues facing the Tigrai region (ክልል). Rather, they are pinning their hope on fomenting crisis and
instability in Ethiopia and Eritrea while at the same time confusing the Tigraians (ተጋሩ).
We are familiar with the Gobbles style propaganda of the digital Woyanei like Tgrai House Media, Awramba, Ethiopian Review, Tigrai Online, etc. We are familiar too with the fake history and identity propagated by mediocre pseudo-intellectuals like Muluwork, Gebrekidan, etc.
We have heard the outright false analysis of desperados like the Tsadkans, Seyes, Sbhat, and Mesfun aimed at boosting their low morale. The recent inauguration of the ‘Tigrai independence party’ by none other than the idiosyncratic “nuclear boy” tells it all. Instead of trying to rectify the source of the quagmire, they are fabricating their own facts and making the situation more uncertain and dangerous for the Tigrai people.
The Woyanes are facing a stark choice and boils down into accepting the mandatory death of the great pipedream ‘Republic Tigrai’ project and live with its repercussion or stick with it and go down to the abyss.
To begin with, the Woyanes have not yet come to terms with their loss of power. But their biggest worry is yet to appear. In their bid to realize their dream of ‘Greater Tigria Republic’, the Woyanes have stolen and annexed land from their national and international neighbors. They stole Wolkait and Kobo from the Amhara, Afar, as well as from Eritrea.
Of course, internally, there is the issue of bad governance and the execution of free and fair elections in the coming critical election. The Woyanes are not keen to face reality and change their mindsets. Instead, they are pursuing the strategy of chaos as their only savior. They are scrambling helter-skelter using the digital media to confuse their populace and leading it to the abyss with a far greater consequence than the Tigrains ever seen.
In this piece, I share my observation on three nightmarish issues the Woyanes have no courage to deal with, without admitting their blunder.
1) The Wolkait and Kobo Issues
In the greater scheme of ‘Greater Tigrai’ project, these two lands were duly incorporated into Tgrai regional administration from the outset following Woyane’s ascension to power. The return of these so-called lost territories was, as it were, one of the causes of Woyanes taking arms. For three decades, the Woyanes have done everything to ensure these lands remain Tigrain.
In Wolkkait in particular, they have successfully changed the demography so much that the Wolkaits are now a minority. Any resistance has been duly repressed and the crises were only simmering underground until the anti-woyane resistance in Oromia and Amharas gained momentum, culminating in the demise of TPLF woyane.
As a matter of fact, the Colonel Zewdu incident was one of the critical moments in the people’s resistance that lead finally to the current reform in Ethiopia. Now the Wolkait and Kobo issues are one of the critical issues the Woyanes have to address to find a just solution to the demand of the people of these two lands.
As things stand now, the Woyanes are not keen on a just and acceptable solution that somehow meets the demand of these two peoples. As far as the Woyane is concerned, the people of these two lands are Tigrains and only the Amhara ‘chauvinists’ are making an issue of these lands. And this externalization of the legitimate demand of these people that makes the issue more dangerous.
According to the Woyanes, the Amharas, or mildly their elites, are in the first place responsible for the lost territories and the marginalization of the Tigrains in general and thereby the struggle lead by Woyane. And of course, the Amharas have no love lost to the Woyanes. For the Amharas, the Wolkait and Kobo issue has now become a noble cause to die for. Dr. Dagnew summed it up during his recent public lecture on the occasion of the Adwa victory day by saying “Wolkait is our Adwa“ for the Amharas.
The federal constitution has a clumsy provision for the resolution of such disputes, which the regional administration (ክልሎች) can manipulate its delivery. The Wolkait and Kobo people have pursued this avenue duly but to no avail. The Tgrai regional administration, true to its ‘Greater Tigrai’project systematically prevented and frustrated due process and to this day the issue is not recognized either by the regional assembly or the house federation.
The Federal government has constituted a council that would help to address these and other similar issues, but TPLF Woyane is adamantly against its existence and its work. In my view, the dispute will further deteriorate and may potentially degenerate into serious crises including armed confrontation.
In the final analysis, the Tigrains will bear the sufferings from the TPLF Woyane scourge. As it is well demonstrated during the road closure and disruption, the Tigains will lose dearly in economic as well as social activities.
2) Coming to Terms With the EEBC Decision
Another land issue that entails the reverse of the ‘Greater Tigrai’ project is the withdrawal of TPLF Woyanes administration and people (ተጋሩ) from sovereign Eritrean lands. To prevent such dreadful moment of truth, the Woyanes have been reneging on their legal obligation to implement the EEBC decision and handover the sovereign Eritrean territories under its occupation for 20+ years.
Imagine for 20 years. For that long was the normal relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia held hostage. Although their public announcement was that they need a dialogue about the physical demarcation, their actual strategy was to undermine the Eritrean government, hoping at best, for a regime change or at the minimum weaken and oblige it to their dialogue trap on their own terms.
The dream scenario was preventing the reverse of the ‘Greater Tigrai’ project by making some sort of land swap or trade-off, especially regarding Badme. That hope is now completely dashed.
The position of the Eritrean government has been all along consistent and wants to see the virtually demarcated border to be placed on the ground and thereby the hand over of its sovereign territories.
That is one of the provisions of the agreement signed between PM Abiy’s government and the Eritrean government. But the Woyane regional administration understandably is not enthusiastic about it and as it is currently in loggerhead with the federal government, any positive movement is not expected until after the coming elections.
But from what can be imputed from the statements of the Head of the regional administration and former Weyane officials, such as Siye, Mesfun, as well as their amateur intellectuals, they are pinning their hope on crisis instigation at best or forcing land swaps at minimum. But that is ‘never going to happen’ and the Ethiopian federal government has all the trump cards to play with, including budget allocation, to force the Woyanes to comply with its demand. Of course, the Woyanes may wish and pray that PM Abiy’s government not winning the necessary majority seats to form a government. But that would not change the obligation of any government in office regarding this matter.
The Woyane’s moment of truth will come sooner than later.
The TPLF Woyane knows they are trapped between a rock and a hard surface. For the Woyanes presiding the complete reversal of the ‘Greater Tigrai’ project is tantamount to admitting their strategic blunder. That is, of course, a humiliation in their eyes. That is why they see crises and possibly war as their best bet avoiding this dreadful choice altogether.
In their recent appearance in various Tigrai connected media outlets, Siye, Mesfun, Tsadkan, etc unashamedly raised the possibility of war between Tigrai and Eritrea without explaining the reason in the wake of well-progressing rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The reality is indeed different, but nevertheless it betrays their sick mind and bad intention. Ethiopia has agreed for the unconditional implementation of the EEBC decision and it will happen whether Woyane likes it or not.
3) The Lack of Democracy and the Coming General Elections
One of the internal critical moment of truth for the Woyanes is the coming general election. Consistent with the reforms undergoing in Ethiopia, one expects the TPLF Woyanes to allow a free and fair election. But that won’t happen. Actually this election can not come at the worst time for Woyane in which its survival is at stake.
Only by winning the regional and federal seats would be in a position to ensure its survival and maneuver its way to deal with the killing issues at his hand. To this effect, it will use all its organizational and propaganda machines at its disposal. It has done for all its time in power and has quite a vicious mindset and cunning
capacity doing it.
The only concern for the Woyanes is the fact that this time it can not do it without a cost. Unlike in all the previous elections, the dynamics of internal Tigrai politics have completely changed. In the previous elections, only one opposition party by the name Arena was in existence. Now there are at least four new opposition parties active in Tigrai.
Assuming their political programs and manifesto represent the plurality of interest in the populace, then it shows the existence of substantial interest for change. Nevertheless, many of these parties including Third Woyane and Baytona have little or no chance of appealing a substantial cross-section of the society.
First of all their program is no different than the Woyanes pipe-dream and has no bearing on the political and socio-economic challenges. And of course, their weak organizational and political resource will constrain their performance. But, Woyane needs these two parties for its theatre of fake elections and no damage is incurred
allowing them some space.
The rest including the Prosperity Party (PP) is already dubbed as Bandas and will be given a hard time making any serious contention. Only the election board can do something about it. But the moment of truth will come when it finally dawns on the average Tigrain that Woyane is the worst thing it happened to them.
We are in the middle of an unprecedented worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus pandemic may buy some time for the TPLF Woyanes facing the moment of truths if the election must be postponed. But the moment of truth will go nowhere and remain to be faced anytime and all the time. I hope the coronavirus and the TPLF Woyane will be dealt with at a minimum cost.