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The Surest Path to Peace and Stability in Ethiopia is to Uphold the Rule of Law (Open Letter)

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Open Letter to the Global Community

From the Undesigned Ethiopian Diaspora-based organizations

November 14, 2020

The International  Community is being  mis-informed about the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), once the dominant faction in the ruling coalition of the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPDRF) as having been and is a willing-partner in  the peaceful reform agenda that begun in 2018. The changes in 2018 enabled opposition groups outside the country, including those who were engaged in armed opposition against EPDRF to return to Ethiopia. Within the country, tens of thousands of political prisoners jailed by the TPLF-led EPDRF regime without due process of law were released.  Independent media begun to operate freely. The no-war no-peace tense stalemate that existed for over 20 years between Ethiopia and Eritrea was brought to an end. Unfortunately, the TPLF that lost its previous dominant role within the EPDRF coalition never stopped from engaging itself and its allies in activities that were antithetical to the spirit of the reform agenda and process.

In the pre-reform years of EPDRF rule, the governing regime led by the TPLF promoted an all-consuming ethnic-based politics to sow mistrust amongst different ethnic groups for retaining and maintaining power. In the past two years, we have witnessed the TPLF and its allies that include rogue elements within the current government structure, incite ethnic tensions to impose their will outside of the legal and peaceful political process. The devastating consequences of these destabilizing activities have been denial of citizens’ basic constitutional rights to move and work freely within their own country.

Millions of Amharas, Oromos, Somalis, Gugis, Afars and other ethnic groups have been displaced from their places of residence. In addition, ethnic-based violence has been perpetrated on ethnic minorities by armed and mob groups that are organized and financed by TPLF. In particularly, in recent months, a flurry of ethnic violence amounting to ethnic cleansing was perpetrated against Amharas in Oromia, Southern and Benishangul regions with clear objective of inciting inter-ethnic conflict. In this process thousands of innocent lives and property in billions of “birr” have been destroyed. All these were done deliberately for a political goal of making Ethiopia ungovernable.

The TPLF and its allies exploited the postponement of the May 2020 national election due to the COVID-19 pandemic to escalate the political tension in the country. The TPLF and its allies used this opportunity to vociferously campaign, using the media under their control that the federal government would be illegitimate after it finishes its “regular” five-year term in September 2020.

TPLF conducted election in Tigray in defiance of the Constitution, the federal government and the federal election board. It also declared openly that it does not recognize the federal government as legitimate. The TPLF also started interference in the normal operation of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian military that was stationed in Tigray. It prevented the free movement of the army by closing and encouraging others to close roads. The TPLF also blocked the stationing of new military leaders for the Northern Command.

Instead of pursuing its political objectives through political dialogue, the TPLF was increasing its irresponsible and aggressive confrontation with the federal government using its ill-gotten accumulated financial and military equipment. It also resorted into a tactic of using the people of Tigray as a shield. Such intransigence by the TPLF towards the federal government clearly started to put the lives of citizens, the unity and stability of the country in grave danger. 

Finally, in the evening of November 3, 2020, TPLF Special Forces in partnership with Tigrean speakers from within the Ethiopian Northern Command surrounded, attacked and viciously and savagely murdered non-Tigreans with an objective to dismantle the Northern Command and confiscate its heavy and mechanized military equipment and installations. On the night of November 3, 2020 unsuspecting officers and military personnel were savagely murdered, many of them while asleep. 

We therefore urge the global community to understand the forced military engagement of the federal government to restore rule of law, peace, and stability in Tigray.  

We the undesigned urge members of the International community in general and the Secretary General of the UN and the Chairman of the African Union in particular to recognize the genesis of the current crises in Ethiopia. This crisis is instigated by TPLF to regain its lost dominant position within EPDRF due to the reform process that started in 2018. The TPLF instead of engaging in the political process that includes an open national election that is scheduled for May 2013, it resorted to:

  • Making Ethiopia ungovernable by exploiting the ethnic divisions which is engineering by its 20+ years of divide and rule in the country to instigate brutal ethnic-based killings and evictions of minority ethnic groups  (example: Amharas, Oromos, Gugis, Gurages, etc) from the Somali, Oromia, Benishangul and other regions.
  • Threatening the peace and stability of the country by encircling and attacking the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Forces that is stationed in Tigray. 
  • Perpetuating inter-ethnic strife and ethnic-based killings. For example, on November 10, 2020 TPLF Special Forces herded a group of 500 non-Tigrean ordinary civilians, including day laborers, 30 kilometers from the town of Humera and massacred them wholesale.
  • In a demonstration of brute savagery and human cruelty that is considered despicable in Ethiopian society, TPLF Special Forces and their accomplices cut their victims into pieces with blunt instruments. In this connection, General Bacha Debela of the Ethiopian Defense Forces had provided a gripping account of similar atrocities committed by TPLF Special Forces that we append to this open appeal. 

The undersigned believe that the only path to peace and stability in Ethiopia is to bring the entire  leadership of the TPLF and its accomplices to a court of law; to make them accountable for the treason and for heinous crimes they committed no nation in the civilized world should not/ would not be asked to reach a negotiated settlement with such a terrorist and rogue force. What was attacked was t sovereignty of the Ethiopian State and the national flag defender of the last resort.  The only negotiation that is acceptable must be the terms of surrender by TPLF leadership.

Finally, the undersigned urge that the global community to stand on the side of the Ethiopian people; help avert catastrophic genocide spearheaded by the TPLF; urge the insurgents to abandon war; support Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and the country’s Federal Defense Forces that are doing all they can to avert civilian casualties; and prevent Ethiopia from  inter-ethnic conflict and instability. 

Ethiopian American Civic Council

List of Signatories:

Ethiopian Association in the United Kingdom
Ethiopian American Civic Council (EAEC)
Ethiopian Advocacy Network (EAN)
Ethiopiawinet Civic Association, USA
Ambassador Kadafo Ali Mirra on behalf of the Afar Community in Toronto
European Task Force for Human Rights and Justice in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Genocide Prevention Movement in Europe
International network of Ethiopians for Peace and Justice

References :
General Bacha Debele’s narrative of heinous crimes by the TPLF

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