Regime in Ethiopia implicated Egypt in working with Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Video footage (above) aired in state controlled television,Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, shows Egyptians wearing OLF flag and speaking in Arabic to a crowed of Ethiopian immigrants of Oromo heritage – apparently in Cario.
EBC translated the message as follows : “…we know the struggle you are in. We hope that in 2016, in your land and with your people, you will form your own government. …In the name of Egyptians, we want to thank OLF leadership and we are with you…”
Clearly, regime in Ethiopia wanted to create impression that there is strong Egyptian interest in using Oromo Liberation Front as a tool to weaken Ethiopia by supporting OLF struggle for secession. Assumption on the part of the regime is that the protest in Oromia regions of Ethiopia is clandestinely organized by Oromo Liberation Front which does not seem to be the case, at least not in all circumstances.
It is possible to speak in absolute terms that majority of Ethiopians will not subscribe to regime narrative not because Ethiopians are not aware of Egyptian effort to undermine and destabilize Ethiopia by any means possible, there is a historical precedent ranging from outright invasion to using internal rebel forces – and one of them was the regime itself during its guerrila time- to destabilize and ultimately weaken Ethiopia but because Ethiopians know that regime is talking about it as part of its propaganda to save its power.
At this point in time, it is the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) government that is killing Ethiopians left, right and center. Not to long ago, the regime burned prisons in different parts of the country, mainly in Amhara region of Ethiopia, including the maximum security prison Qilinto and many inmates were tragically burned to death. Not to mention hundreds of lives cut short by sniper bullets deployed by TPLF in different parts of Ethiopia and an entire market place recently burned in Gonder. This Sunday, the regime caused stampede after it shot live ammunition and tear gas on over one million crowed gathered at Debre Zeit to celebrate Ireecha festival; 678 people confirmed dead.
None of this is to discount Egypt as a restless threat to Ethiopia. While there seem to be reasonably good knowledge among Ethiopians that Egypt, because of its anxiety about Nile water, has always been a threat to Ethiopia, it is not considered an immediate threat and a priority.
As well, Ethiopians know the intentions of neo-radical Oromo leadership in the ranks of Oromo Liberation Front and its appetite even to use religious fanaticism. And that it is probably exploiting possible offers from Egypt – financial or otherwise.
Wazema radio reported that in an appearance in Minnesota Jawar Mohammed, whom many Ethiopians of Oromo origin tend to see as a mouthpiece of Oromo cause -of course many Oromos do not see him that way too, announced that Oromo protest campaign is transformed to Oromo revolution. Another significant information he shared,based on Wazema report, is that there are 500 thousand armed Oromos and that he seeks to exploit it for the revolution.
Apart from Egypt, TPLF occasionally employs the aphorism “Neoliberal forces”as being behind the ongoing popular protest in Ethiopia. The euphemism neoliberal is apparently preferred to avoid naming names of countries to which the regime has been client for decades now.
Objective reality – the fact that Ethiopians have been subjected to 25 years of unprecedented repression in all its forms which was possible for the regime mainly through divide and rule strategy and that they have legitimate demand for political change – is either misrepresented or ignored by Tigray People Liberation Front government.
Worst, to save its power, the regime is gambling with the very existence of Ethiopia and TPLF core leaderhsip has a mindset that Ethiopia will disintegrate if it does not maintain a hold on power.
Truth is Ethiopia will never be the same again for TPLF and TPLF should refrain from triggering a reckless project of disintegrating Ethiopia as a retaliation for rejection of its misused and abused power monopoly for over twenty five years.
Written by Dimetros Birku. Could be reached on twitter : @dimetros