Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM) announces merger with TPLF

Less than two years ago, TPDM was in Eritrea determined to fight against TPLF led administration. Now, leaders of the organization are back in Tigray and have decided to merge with TPLF. 

Photo credit : DW Amharic

December 9, 2019

Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM) announced on Monday that it has merged with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – an organization that dominated the EPRDF coalition for nearly three decades and currently governing Tigray region of Ethiopia.

TPDM was an armed movement with nearly 2,000 combatants based in Eritrea and was allegedly fighting against TPLF. It was believed that the Eritrean government supported the armed movement in terms of logistics and military training for more than 18 years, among other things.  It returned to the country in September 2018 after Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018 and the movement returned home “to continue the struggle peacefully.”

According to a report by DW Amharic on Monday, TPLF admired the decision of TPDM to work with TPLF.

“TPDM decided to end its existence and merge with TPLF after evaluating the current political situation in Ethiopia,” Mekonen Tesfay, who is chairman of the movement, is cited as saying during his interview with DW Amharic.

Apparently, TPDM did not call members congress to pass the decision. Rather, it is the executive committee and central committee of the movement that passed the decision to merge with TPLF, according to Mekonen Tesfay.

Elaborating as to what informed the decision to merge with TPLF; the chairman says “the danger hovering on the people of Tigray is increasing.” 

He also reflected on the difference with TPLF in the past. “TPDM did not have a difference with TPLF other than issues of good governance and democracy,” he said. 

DW Amharic reached out to TPLF to get remarks on the merger. Tekie Mitiku, TPLF central committee member and head of the region’s security, said the movement’s decision “conveys the message that the people of Tigray will collaborate in difficult times.” He also praised the movement for the decision it passed.

TPLF is seemingly working on a project of organizing what it calls “Federalist Forces” with the aim to resist the formation of Prosperity Party – a party formed by three former members of the ruling coalition EPRDF and five other ally parties. The “Federalist Forces” have reached to the point of forming a forum.”

Members of TPDM who returned from “armed struggle in Eritrea” were integrated into the region’s police force and other government structures.  Apparently, the region’s structure did not absorb all of the TPDM combatants. There were those who had to find employment in the private sector as well.

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