TPLF warns against using force to deal with statehood question,blasts ADP for assassinations

  • TPLF says Amhara Democratic Party should not externalize its internal problems, and that it will find it difficult to work with if the party is doing so
  • The ethnic Tigray party representing less than 6 % of Ethiopia’s 100 million population also seem to warn the Federal government not to take forceful measure against questions of statehood in South Ethiopia
TPLF _ Ethiopia _ Amhara Democratic Party
TPLF’s Martyr statue in Mekelle. Photo credit : TPLF

July 11, 2019

Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that was dominant in the Federal government and the ruling coalition (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front – EPRDF) until it April of 2018, seem to see an opportunity to reclaim its influence over the federal government while attacking one of its major rivals in EPRDF, Amhara Democratic Party, over recent assassinations. 

TPLF had a meeting this week in Mekelle over the political situation in the country – apparently its first meeting since the crisis situation that unfolded following the killings of three senior Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) leaders in Bahir Dar on June 22 and the killings of the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, General Seare Mekonnen, on the same day in the Capital Addis Ababa. 

According to a report by DW Amharic on Thursday, TPLF resolved that ADP has to take responsibility for the killings in Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa. Otherwise, said TPLF, it will find it difficult to work with ADP. The two parties are members of the ruling coalition – EPRDF.  

In a statement that TPLF  issued after completed two days of meetings this week, it demanded an investigation into the killings of the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, General Seare Mekonnen, and his longtime friend – Retired Maj. General Gezai Abera. The party wants a neutral and independent body to handle the investigation and make the findings public. 

The statement, as reported by DW Amharic, went on to accuse  ADP saying that it has given a chance for what it called “chauvinist forces from different corners” to do what they want, and that, according to TPLF, is taking the country along the path of disintegration. 

TPLF statement alleges that there is ideological confusion within the ruling coalition and that there has to be clarity. The party was critical of the role of foreign powers including the US in the past and there was a tendency among influential leaders like Aboy Sebhat that The U.S. government is behind the coming to power of Abiy Ahmed. 

“EPRDF and the government of Ethiopia need to disclose their stand on the issue of national election which is supposed to take place next year,” is another key point that TPLF raised in its statement.   

With regards to ADP, while the TPLF statement is calling for an investigation of the assassinations in Addis Ababa, it seems to be convinced that ADP is behind the killings so much so that it wants ADP to apologize Ethiopian people for the killings.  “If ADP central committee externalizes its problem, TPLF will be unable to work with ADP,” said TPLF’s statement. 

The government of  Abiy Ahmed described the assassination of Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen, president of Amhara regional state, and two other senior regional government officials (Migbaru Kebede and Ezez Wasse), in Bahir Dar on June 22, and the killings in  Addis Ababa as an attempted coup d’etat. Amhara regional state officials have accepted the narrative and linked the alleged coup d’etat with Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige who was killed outside of Bahir Dar, according to government sources, a day after the attempted coup d’etat. 

Key TPLF officials, including the spy chief who remains at large despite repeated Federal court orders, were linked to many of the killings and displacements in the country after Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April 2018. 

Now TPLF seems to be seizing the situation in the country as a playing card to frame ADP as a problem for Ethiopia and broker new alliance with Oromo Democratic Party in the ruling coalition. 

And what a considerable number of politicized Ethiopians tend to think is that Oromo Democratic Party, whose chairman is Abiy Ahmed, is a puppet of radical Oromo ethno-nationalists both from within the party and from outside of ODP and they see a possibility of new ODP-TPLF alliance. 

Sidama question as a playing card  

TPLF is also playing the statehood questions card. Last week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent a stern warning for ethno-nationalists in Southern Ethiopia vying for statehood status to abstain from taking forceful steps in pursuit of statehood status, wait patiently or face law enforcement forces. 

Sidama Nationalists
Welcome sign board by Sidama Nationalists. Photo : from Sidama National Liberation Front

He was implying to the Sidama question.  And he used Ethiopia-Somali region’s move to break away from the Federal government forcefully, which was put down by the defense force, as an example.

TPLF, on the other hand, opposed the move in Ethiopia Somali region. Now is it opposing similar moves. “An attempt to resolve the issue through force or any other means is never acceptable,” is TPLF stand on statehood demands. 

On the other hand, Sidama ethno-nationalists sent an ultimatum that they will go ahead and declare Sidama a state on their own if the Federal government is not organizing the referendum. 

Sidama nationalists have already put up a welcome sign board in the entrance of what they think is the boundary of Sidama state.

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