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Abiy Ahmed tells TPLF “if you repress in Tigray, demand not democracy in Addis Ababa”

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed offered TPLF to come forward for a live or discreet discussion but the offer is not without a warning. If you repress in Tigray, you can not demand democracy in Addis Ababa – is his key message.

TPLF _ Abiy Ahmed
Prime Minister Abiy AHmed addressing questions from opposition parties during a meeting on Thursday. Photo : screenshot from EBC video

April 30, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about a political complication to Ethiopia. It is now clear that the election can not take place in August 2020 as scheduled before. 

The Ethiopian Parliament has approved on Thursday Ethiopia’s Electoral Board’s decision to postpone the election The problem is that the government could lose legitimacy as the parliament’s terms should end at the end of September 2020. 

Ethiopian government still has four legal playing cards to constitutionally arrange an election outside of the constitutional timeframe for election. But all the options do not seem to be an easy fix – perhaps the reason why the government has found it necessary to continue to engage the opposition. 

On Thursday, April 30, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had a meeting with opposition parties in the country but the exchange with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the leader of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) had a different tone. 

Addis Alem Balema (Ph.D.), former deputy president of Tigray regional state, represented TPLF during the meeting. Most of the TPLF leaders are now confined in Mekelle, Tigray after they lost dominance over the Federal government, and are not comfortable to show up in Addis Ababa as many of them fear that they might get arrested.  

“We are attending this meeting in consideration of our respect for the institutions in the country, and because of the challenging situation [in the country],” Addis Alem Balema said. The implicit message is, “we do not respect you Abiy!.” One TPLF general said last week, “We used to laugh at Abiy Ahmed when he said that he wants to be the prime minister.” 

Mr. Addis Alem Baleme went on to criticize Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government in connection with the election. “Government was working half-heartedly on the next election. Now the Coronavirus complicated it,” he said.  Moreover, he criticized Abiy Ahmed’s administration that the rule of law in the country is, in his words, messy.

Concerning the step to be taken to address the situation, he said: “My party believes that the measures to be taken[about election] need to ensure the rights of nations and nationalities, and foster the federal system.”  Consultation has to continue and the upcoming election has to be free, fair, and credible (In the last election TPLF claimed that it won all the parliamentary seats.) 

TPLF _ Addis Alem Balema
Addis Alem Balema. Photo : screenshot from EBC

“If Prosperity Party dares to lead the election [process] on its own and take it, the result will be bad,” Addis Alem warned Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, with a smiling face. He also added that the process has to be democratic and inclusive, and done in consultation with the opposition.

Abiy Ahmed rebutted TPLF’s argument in connection with the election. “Our position was that the election should take place. We had neither interest or belief that the election should take place,” Abiy Ahmed said. And he pointed out that the COVID 19 changed the situation. 

 Then Abiy Ahmed reminded the TPLF rep as to what TPLF did to leaders of opposition parties – trying to portray that his government is much better than what its predecessor. 

Yet, he offered TPLF  an opportunity to discuss with the government if there is anything that they think the government is doing wrongly. We can discuss it live (in a way accessible to the media)  or discreetly. But the offer came with a warning from the Prime Minister. “Practice democracy on your turf. You can not repress in Tigray and demand a free and open forum in the Federal government,” he warned after referring that opposition parties in the Tigray region are unable to operate freely to carry out their political works. PM Abiy Ahmed went further to claim that the country is facing possible war over its sovereignty and pointed out that some are working with enemy forces.  He called them banda. 

The meeting between the government and the opposition was a point of discussion among Ethiopians. Some say the country is facing a constitutional crisis. Others say Abiy Ahmed’s government is trying to maintain the legitimacy of his government until the next election but there is no guarantee if the next election is going to be free and fair. 

The meeting on Tuesday brought to the fore the political struggle between TPLF and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. 

Mesfin Aman is a political analyst with political science academic background at Addis Ababa University. He was also during the 2005 Ethiopian election as a member of CUD. He told Borkena that “Prime Minister Abiy is trying to engage the opposition to make them change their position in regards to a transitional government. He doesn’t want a transitional government”? 

And “TPLF wants to use every opportunity to regain dominance. If that is not possible, to destabilize the country,” he said. 

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  1. Known oposition party leader Lidetu Ayalew said whether prosperity party agrees or not the opposition parties need to form a transitional government by September 2020.

  2. Lets be thankful we have opposing parties sit around a table like this instead of waging rebellions. While Abiy’s statement is true, he was wrong in the first place to marginalize Tigray in the first place.

  3. I wish we all stop using the term TPLF associating this organization which was founded for a noble cause in 1975 with the current leaders and their rabid loud-mouthed deresas. That organization had ceased to exist in its original form and objectives after the late 1970’s to mid 1980’s. It has been taken over by conniving brutes and self-serving demons since then. The target of all criticism and struggle should be aimed at the current and recent leaders. Just look at the photo of one them hoodlums above in the article. Just look at him. I see choice fillet mignon every night at his dinner table. I see a fat, a really fat bank account in his or assumed name here, there or anywhere. He ain’t got to worry about where the next meal will come from like that poor farmer in Tigray. Calling such fat cat brutes TPLF(Tigray) is an insult to those upright people from that region. These are the scum of the scum from the bottom of the barrel. They are a disgrace to the human race. They are the ones who should be targeted and exposed. Otherwise it will never work. These deacons of Marx/Lenin/Mao will use such misfired shots to their advantage. They will use it to frighten the average and innocent Tigrayan telling him/her as being targeted by Oromos and Amharas. You remember ‘Radio Rwanda’ mumbo jumbo? It is still on the lips of these scabs.

  4. Instead of challenging one another, is good to create peaceful environment for the future development of our nation’s. Be aware that the country is consuming people, as they are passing and others replacing, if you get opportunity to lead the nations, create suitable environmental condition and leave good legacy that will an input for comming generations, otherwise no progress.

  5. ” … Addis Alem Balema said. he implicit message is, “we do not respect you Abiy!.” One TPLF general said last week, “We used to laugh at Abiy Ahmed when he said that he wants to be the prime minister.” …”

    Well, PM Dr Abiy has got respect from 112 mo people LESS TPLF bandits and robbers.

    The “one TPLF general” is indeed one of the contraband-traders who are now confined to their hideouts and rotting to death. In fact, it is well said that “those who are to be laughed at laugh at themselves”.

  6. I am sure Dr Abiy Understand’s Benjamin Burombo: ” Each time I want to fight for African right, I use only one hand, because the other hand is busy tring to keep away Africans who are fighting me”


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