By Samuel Estefanous
TPLF sealed its fate the minute it crossed state boundaries and made avaricious forage into the Amhara and Afar National Regional States. From that strategic blunder onwards, TPLF was nothing but an outlaw band of highway robbers with no solid political cause to fight or die for. Its victories, however hard gained, were plain criminal endeavors, and its losses? The direct consequence of plain law enforcement operations!
Here are a few reasons why
1-It all started with an election, can you believe that? The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia is the sole arbiter with legitimate original jurisdiction in any dispute arising from the manner and time of conducting an election. This is beyond the domain of the executive branches of both the Federal and Regional governments.
In plain words this should have been a simple complaint to be filled in the required form and lodged to the Board. In the event the board rejected the complaint, TPLF could have simply preferred an appeal to the Federal High court. I mean this is made clear in so many words in the proclamation that established the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia. The court could have quashed the decision of the Board on multiple grounds. In all fairness all efforts were made to make the Board independent both in words and in deed. In those days the judicial system was trying to make a daring leap of faith to claim its independence. TPLF indeed had a credible forum to plead its case legitimately.
But TPLF refused to take a judicial recourse. It just couldn’t process the idea of going to court as a plaintiff just like any other party. You know why? No one party knows the precarious state of judicial independence in Ethiopia better than TPLF. Looks like it had zero trust in the judiciary it didn’t constitute and couldn’t manipulate. It was having a good taste of its own medicine.
Bottom-line? Basically this was the least likely ground to spiral out into a full blown war as TPLF’s complaint was a simple administrative issue. The dispute was between TPLF et al and the National Electoral Board. It was neither about the Federal Government nor about the Prosperity Party.
2- TPLF must have considered the Prosperity Party as some kind of Frankenstein monster that had escaped the lab coalition known as EPRDF. Its contempt and condescending knew no limit. But it crossed a glaring red line when it projected this contempt to the people and pressed its rude presence on the people of Afar and Amhara. I clearly remember the general sentiment among the public when TPLFites fled Addis en masse and settled at Mekelle.
Few people minded the measure taken by the Front, albeit, our worst suspicion being categorically proven. So, all these years Addis and the rest of the country were occupied territories? So Mekelle and the rest of Tigray were exclusive Tigrean domains where the Federal government is not welcome?
They protested the mobilization of a contingent of the Defense Forces in the territory in such strong terms that we were like- did the forces cross an international border? I mean this is a country where TPLF has declared and claimed suzerainty over all the National Regional States by designating a TPLF representative to run each Region with an iron fist behind a willing gutless Quisling. How come they minded the jurisdiction of the Commander of the Nation’s armed forces in the territory at least for decency’s sake or to save face?
(It was such a demeaning horrible legacy of EPRDF that is going to haunt all involved for generations to come. They had styled the system after the Mandate Territories under the League of Nations. In those days Western Powers had decided that there were Nations who are incapable of self government on account of being backward, uncivilized and wild that they needed a designated civilized Nation to look after them and their interests.)
3-How could they miss the fact that in the past three decades the entire social, political, diplomatic and economic fabric on the ground had so diametrically changed to warrant charging on Addis the way they did in 1991?
In those days, except perhaps for a couple of Woredas in North Wollo and Gondar, the rest of the country had hardly any knowledge of the TPLF. To the absolute confusion and frustration of the then incumbent government, folks were too war fatigued that they were willing to give EPRDF a chance. The honeymoon lasted just under four years; EPRDF was a little too quick to show us its true color.
Who knows, maybe they didn’t understand the people. I mean there had been an unbridgeable yawning economic, political and social gap between the ruling coalition and the public. You see, EPRDF has unrecognizably polarized the Nation. The general public has alienated them and their boon companions and never disclosed its true intention around their presence. It was that much disgusted with the administration. In such circumstances, the least they could do was take advantage of the magnanimity of the country, apologize and move on.
4-How could their pundits and strategists fail to grasp the fact that it takes little effort to mobilize the rest of the country against TPLF? Every single household has a score to settle with the previous administration. No one has humiliated Ethiopians the way the disbanded coalition did. Knowing this, they shouldn’t have gambled so recklessly and declined the gracious invitation to reconciliation offered by the elders who had arrived at their court in Mekelle. Worst of all they shouldn’t have disrespected the elders the way they did.
5-The one thing that has set Ethiopians against TPLF was its despicable divide and rule policy. They keep bribing, recruiting and organizing disgruntled folks against the incumbent they way they used to break up opposition parties. It totally eludes them that Ethiopians hate collaborators more than the conquerors. Without knowing it they thus endeared the ruling party more than it has imagined in its wildest dream. The landslide victory the incumbent won in the June election chiefly owed to the belligerency of TPLF.
Who would have thought TPLF would make such a fatal blunder as to bond with a breakaway murderous band that has been terrorizing Oromia these past three years?
6-A segment of the society was beginning to warm up to distinguished individual members of the ruling coalition and those who had the courage and nerve to speak against their past ruthlessly suffocating system. Instead of carefully and meticulously studying the factors and the trends to capitalize on the isolated gains and institutionalizing them, they kept singing it is either our way or the highway. Such a fiercely uncompromising belligerent stand is only worthy of a religious fanatic, not a politician.
7- The Constitution isn’t an article of faith. It is liable to change. It has stayed unrevised for more than a quarter of a century. A quarter of a century is a generation marker. What kind of bellicose stubbornness is it to protest that the Constitution is a sacred testament which shouldn’t and couldn’t be challenged?
I mean particularly considering the fact that it was a supreme law of the land benevolently given to and kindly bestowed on the people of Ethiopia by the singular whim of the mighty EPRDF.
Again, if TPLF is so jealously guarding the Constitution, how in God’s good name did it take the liberty to besiege and attack an army whose loyalty is solely to the Constitution and whose principal duty is to keep it?
Makes us all wonder
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