TPLF leaders warn Eritrean president over what they call “interference in Ethiopian affair” while pleading to Eritrean people to forget the “scar” and work together for “mutual benefit.” Some express concern that TPLF could start war in Ethiopia
February 17, 2020
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) seized the 45-anniversary celebration as an opportunity to showcase the extent of militarization the region has been undertaking for several months now, if not years.
In over a week-long series of events leading to Yekatit 11 (February 19), the day ethnic Tigray Nationalist political organization launched the armed struggle in the wilderness of Dedebit against the military government of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam, military parades have been the centerpiece of the anniversary celebration. Some ethnic Tigray opposition figures were warning that TPLF could start war.
The organization has issued a statement on the occasion. Its heading reads “TPLF Official Statement on the Occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the Launching of the Armed Struggle of the People of Tigrai, 11 Lekatit 2012 Ge’ez C.(February 19, 2020).” Noticeably, Ethiopian calendar is used but it is described as “Ge’ez C”-the way it is referred to as in Eritrea.
The statement made a reference to the 17 years of armed struggle without any support from elsewhere:“”The people of Tigray endured the tough and costly journey with extreme forms of commitment and without asking for any external support, alternate partner, or pause.” Often, TPLF used to say that “all Ethiopians struggled to overthrow Fascist Derge regime.”
Then it goes to condemn what it called “parasitic decadence that occurred within the EPRDF in the last 3 to 4 years” – a reference to the reform measures after TPLF lost power following a pervasive and sustained protest in the country. And the narration was to the “Esteemed People of Tigrai” and “Esteemed Members of the TPLF”
It also painted an image of the imminent disintegration of Ethiopia due to policy measures of the political force that is currently holding power. “In the last couple of years, the country has suffered from heinous violations of law and unfolding crisis, and now it is on the verge of disintegration,” it said.
Under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, says TPLF, “the country has become a playing field for all sorts of external actors.”
After soliciting support from a different section of the population apart from TPLF members and people of Tigray, the statement lastly pleaded to the people of Eritrea. “The people of Tigrai and TPLF have never wavered or compromised on the quest of the Eritrean people for freedom. As a result of the sacrifices we jointly made, we won over the brutal Dergi regime and achieved victory… Nonetheless, in the last 20 years we had been locked in an unnecessary conflict and we both paid dearly as a result. We all realize the scar this has left.”
And what TPLF wants is for the people of Eritrea to “revitalize mutual benefit…, and advance towards an era of mutual development.”
The message for the Eritrean president is different. And it is not in the statement. In an event organized as part of the anniversary, leading TPLF leaders like Seyoum Mesfin, who has served as foreign minister for a long time, complained that the Eritrean president is interfering in the internal affairs of Ethiopia.
Tsegaye Berhe, another prominent TPLF leader, said t “If Isaias interferes in Ethiopian internal affairs, his hands will break, but he will bring about nothing,” as reported by BBC Amharic on Monday.
In an interview with Eritrea’s national TV, president Isaias indicated in the situation in Badme is worse after the peace agreement with Ethiopia, and that is because of TPLF leaders who are not willing to cede it to Eritrea.
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