Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has a caused many problems for the people of Tigray and the Raya question is not the least of it.
As many Ethiopians, certainly including Tigreans, know very well, Raya was part of Wollo, one of the regions of what is now Amhara regional state, before it was annexed as part of Tigray after 1991.
Of course, the people of Raya did not ask for a Tigrean identity nor they were consulted when the ethnic based Federal arrangement included Raya in a way to be party of Tigray.
That was when and how identity question was created in Raya. Obviously, it was suppressed for well over twenty years but simmering underneath. In recent years, the question is resurfacing when the time came for it. The movement to throw away imposed Tirgrean identity and get back Raya identity is becoming bolder and stronger in recent months so much so that the regional state in Tigray had to deploy security forces to crack it down.
A young man was reportedly killed last month but Tigray regional state communication head, Redai Halefom, virtually denied it as he came up with a new narrative to make the killing sound like a homicide case rather than a politically motivated killing.
There was a protest for Raya in the capital Addis Ababa this week condemning the killing and demanding the government to address the Raya identity question.
Again, Tigray regional state communication head had to trivialize the question so that it does not sound a denial on the part of the regional state. Redai called those who protested for Raya, and most of them are from Raya, as groups “with their own political agenda advancing their cause under the cover of Raya people.” He even went on to call the protest “unconstitutional” and the Raya Idenity question has nothing to do with Raya people.
That is where the problem lies. TPLF elites do not seem to have learned from their past mistake. In view of the circumstances under which Raya was compelled to live under Tigray Region about two decades ago and on grounds of social justice, Ethiopians seem to recognize and support that Raya belongs to Wollo as is the case with Wolkait which was Gonder proper until TPLF included it as part of Tigray after 1991.
Through out its 27 seven years rule, all over Ethiopia, TPLF suffered from crisis of public trust. One of the factors that reinforced skepticism towards TPLF was Tigray expansionist agenda which manifested in the form of annexing lands in the west and south under the guise of Federal government regional state restructuring.
Tigray regional state need to know that scapegoating the identity question, both in the west and in the east, as works of political forces from outside of these regions is simply baseless while it is the only political entity that is responsible for creating the problem in the first place.
Rather than radicalizing the people of Tigray on this identity question, TPLF need to know that it is in the interest of people in Tigray to resolve the identity question in the interest of people who are demanding their idenity back and help in the struggle to make Ethiopia livable for all its citizens in all parts of the country without fear of being attacked based on identity.
People in Tigray, on their part, need to realize that it is time to stand up on the side of the Idenity Question of People Raya and Wolkait, and that TPLF agenda regarding these regions represents pure repression and is inevitably a risky business as it leaves the people with no option other than continuing resistance. Again, the Raya question is a just one and has the support of the Ethiopian people.
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena