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HomeOpinionHow Far Will the Government Tolerate TPLF’s Violation of the Peace Agreement? 

How Far Will the Government Tolerate TPLF’s Violation of the Peace Agreement? 

How Far Will the Government Tolerate TPLF’s Violation of the Peace Agreement? 

Ethiopia _ TPLF _ Peace agreement
Abiy Ahmed when he met with U.S. Officials during his latest visit to the country for “US-Africa Leader’ Summit” (Photo : public Domain)

Yonas Biru, PhD 

I have written four articles on peace agreement proposals from November 21, 2020, to September 26, 2022. By and large these proposals are consistent with the agreement that the federal government and TPLF adopted. 

There was one issue where my prediction missed the mark. That is the focus of this article. But first allow me to highlight what I got right because it is important to shed light on the lingering and wrongly predicted problem. In an article that appeared in the Ethiopian Reporter, stressed three points: 

• “TPLF must honor the constitutional order and give the people of Ethiopia a chance to determine under what constitutional order they want to be governed.” 

• “The Ethiopian government must agree to stop the war, suspend its drive to replace the government in Tigray, provided TPLF agrees to reinstate the legitimate former representatives. Finally, the Ethiopian government must drop its demand for the surrender of TPLF leaders.” 

• “Any negotiation on the future constitutional governance of the country and border disputes between regions must be held between legitimately elected officials or a democratically established constitutional assembly, not by armed parties.” 

I reiterated the same set of points on July 28, 2021, under the title “A Four Step Proposal for a Peaceful Resolution of the Conflict Between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray Regional Government.” In addition to the three points noted in the November 2020 article, I stressed that “In the interest of ending the looming humanitarian crisis, the Federal government needs to withdraw its sanction on the TPLF as a terrorist organization.” 

My last September 26, 2022, article titled “Peace in Ethiopia requires exiling TPLF leaders to a safe haven” appeared in Inside Policy Magazine in Canada. The article reemphasized exiling TPLF leaders, rescinding the terrorist designation of TPLF, and allowing the TPLF as a party to participate in the free and fair election and let the people of Tigray decide its fate. 

I was confident that their own best interest would lead TPLF leaders to leave the country. This has not materialized and seems unlikely to materialize. The question now is: How can the Abiy administration handle it? This has various political implications on:

· The peace agreement 

· OLF-Shene’s and its clones’ existential threat 

· Amhara-Tigray border issues 

· The Ethio-Eritrean relationship. Let us address them in turn. 

How Far Will the Government Tolerate TPLFs Violation of the Peace Agreement? 

TPLF is violating both the letter and spirit of the peace agreement. To start with, it was supposed to relinquish the levers of power, but it has not. It is also using different pretexts to drag its foot regarding the disarmament agreement. In clear violation of the agreement, there is a visible strategy to resuscitate itself as the government of Tigray. 

To date, the Abiy administration is handling the situation right. The government seems to rightly focus on the end result of the peace agreement. TPLF’s violation of elements of the agreement should not be a reason to go back to war. The government should continue its peace and charm offensive to win the hearts and minds of the people of Tigray. Peace is what will weaken the TPLF as a negative force, not war. 

In any case, we need to keep in mind the three most important factors that led to the peace settlement. 

First, TPLF’s backbone was broken at the war front. The only thing left in its arsenal was the humanitarian crisis in Tigray that it was weaponizing for an international PR campaign. Its military might and invincibility was no more than a Quixotic delirium – 21st Century reality mimicking a 4th century fiction of Don Quixote de la Mancha. The emperor has fake clothes without zippers and buttons, laying bare his organs and grieving soul. 

Second, the Ethiopian government was forced to realize the economy was sliding into a blackhole and time was running out. The PM desperately needed the International Community (Read the US) to bail the economy out of an impending existential crisis. As the #NoMore community was እንጣጥ እንጣጥing and እንዘጭ እንቦጭing on the streets of Washington, the PM was sending a delegation led by the Minister of Finance to Washington to plead for an economic bailout package. 

Third, the West was able to twist arms and force a peaceful settlement. This is the truth. All else is a cruel satirization of an already satirized and hermitized Ethiopian intellectual class at home and in the diaspora. 

The bottom line is that the Ethiopian government has very little option but to keep the peace process, despite TPLF’s violation of elements of the agreement. The most TPLF will get out of

this is saving itself with a broken backbone with little chance of creating a threatening military power, much less winning any future war. 

Thankfully, the West still has the leverage to enforce peace. Left to their own devices, Ethiopia political elites on both sides have self-destructive tendencies. 

The OLF-Shene Factor: An Emerging Power or Metastasizing Cancer? 

OLF-Shene represents the essence of Ethiopia’s problem. The malignant force is an Oromo spirit without a head. It is part bank-robber, part hostage taker, and part throat cutting and mass murdering savage establishment. But it is more than all these combined. It has become a template for unemployed Oromo high-school and university graduates to form gangster groups. 

Oromo high schools and universities are churning out graduates who speak neither Amharic nor English. They are unemployable outside of the Oromo tribal land and feel others should not be employable in their tribal land. 

This is where the spirit of Shene comes into play. Unemployed and restive Oromo youth clone themselves using OLF-Shene as a template to rob banks, hold people hostage and engage in savagery. Though their victims include Oromos, Amhara’s and other tribes, the political market is selling them as anti-Amhara political forces. The Oromo Tribal government is afraid to go after them, as the problem metastasizes out of Welga. They lack both the wisdom and the integrity to deal with their tribal politics that created tribal gangsterism as an economic solution. This adds a new urgency to the PM to end the war and deal with the economy. Who would have thought OLF-Shene will be a factor in the Etio-TPLF peace calculus? 

The Implication for the Amhara and Tigray Conflicts 

TPLF’s survival favors the Amhara political class. Knowing TPLF’s part delusional and part amnesiac tendencies, no government in Ethiopia will allow it to have control over Welkait. On the one hand, TPLF will use Welkait as a reason why it is not honoring its side of the peace deal to elongate its hold to power, no matter how diminished its power may be. 

On the other hand, the PM will not put his government at risk by allowing TPLF access to Sudan. From a political perspective it will be unimaginable for PM Abiy to return Welkait to Tigray without creating an enemy out of 30 plus million people in the Amhara tribal land. This, plus the PM’s own survival instinct will favor the Amhara in the Wolkait conflict 

In short, TPLF’s stay in power creates an unfavorable environment to make a political case to return Welkait to Tigray. This is not to say, any other Tigrayan government will win on this issue. It simply means TPLF’s stay will make it much harder. TPLF would not mind.

How Will the Ethio-Eritrean Relationship Be Affected? 

There are psychological and political issues in play. The psychological issue is the hardest to deal with. From a political and military perspective, Eritrea has very little to fear. TPLF has no military backbone to threaten Eritrea. They have self-destructed with surgical precision. Partly, TPLF was the reason for Eritrea’s economic stagnation. Eritrea was reduced to being a militarized nation to defend itself from Ethiopia led by TPLF. That threat has been removed. Eritrea and Amhara have inherently interlocked common interests against TPLF. There is also an overlapping space between the Abiy government, Amhara, and Eritrea interests in putting TPLF in check. 

In an unlikely event that TPLF launches a war against Eritrea, the Ethiopian federal government has a duty to intervene both politically and militarily. Ethiopia cannot allow one of its regions to drag the whole nation into a war with a neighboring country. Ethiopia must assure Eritrea of this. 

Either way, I do not think Eritrea will have meaningful influence to force the PM to act in a way that undermines Ethiopia’s interest. 

In Conclusion 

If rightly handled by the Abiy administration, TPLF’s only choice is recreating itself as a positive force to build Tigray’s economy. That is the only choice it has to remain a relevant power in Tigray politics. Its arrogance, sense of invincibility, and ambition to be alpha tribe (ዓውራ ብሄር) and regional power is a pipe dream. The reality is that as long us the current constitution stands, Tigray will remain an አጋር ብሄር with diminished influence over the nation’s politics – 6% voting right to be exact.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Dr. Biru, you graced us with a balanced and accurate assessment of our current quagmire vs challenges vs opportunities vs solutions.

  2. I ain’t worried about one side going to war because that has been irreversibly settled at the battle fronts during the weeks and days leading to the trip to Pretoria. The trip did not just drop from the sky. Now the ENDF will be coming to town in Mekele in a few days. I always enjoy Obbo Dr. Yonas’ articles. I hope he will keep writing. To me he is rightfully so concerned about that gem of the colored that produced us all. Even if his statements leave with questions but those questions were good enough to spark thoughts for me. I see one in this article. It goes ‘ Amhara-Tigray border issues’. I’m at a loss because I believe there should not be borders between those descendants of harmonious and upright people. Where are the borders between Amharas and Tigres, Amharas and Oromos, Oromos and Somalis, Afars, Sidamas, Benishanguls, Gambelas and the rest of the people? If they presumably exist, who and by what authority did he/she establish them(put them in place)? If there are any now for me they are just mirage. I tried to look at the current borders especially the ones where I was born and spent my formative years the so-called regional borders have left me with truck loads of questions and bewilderment. I was asking myself ‘since when did this town of locality turn out to be within Oromo, Somali or Afar ‘borders?’ I asked myself ‘since when?’ I would appreciate it very much if Brother Obbo Dr. Yonas shed some light on this ‘border issues’ thing.

  3. The writer misses some major points:
    – Current Ethiopian politics is nothing but a rivalry between Oromo and Amhara elites.
    – Oromo is playing for absolute dominance and sees Amhara as a major contender/obstacle.

    – Qeerroo has been set up to be an instrument to achieve and guarantee oromo dominance… any challenge from Amhara- be it from ANDM or Fano – will be answered with a slaughter of Amharas in Oromia. Abiy and co. have designed Qeerroo to be an unemployable attack dog of the opdo on its payroll – poor education, fed with the narrative of Oromo ethno-nationalists ( Assafa Jalata, Mohamed Hassan etc).

    – In its quest for absolute dominance, opdo sees a submissive Tplf as a tactical ally, as both share a common threat – Amhara. Oromo elites and TPLF will of course not allow Wolkite to be fully under the Amhara regional state – that would weaken both. The targeted outcome for these groups is an independent Wolkite regional state with a strong federal and Tigrian influence.
    – In the meantime the cleansing of Amharas from Oromia is underway. This is a precondition for plan B of Oromo elites (declaration of an independent Oromia state)
    , in case they fail to achieve absolute dominance of Ethiopia. Pockets of major Amhara settlements within oromia and Addis have been in the past a critical issue within the OLF that lead at times to a split of the group. These have been seen by some in the leadership as facts that will make an independent Oromia State impossible. This is now being challenged and the eviction or extermination of Amharas in Oromia is now a plan in execution.

  4. Ittu Aba Farda ,

    Yesterday , I was at home watching EBC for 2 hours , and left to the nearby park to stretch my legs for a while.And I spotted a man wearing Oromo Traditional and Cultural Clothes . I asked my friends and they told man this is the man who work for Abiy Amhed , Ittu Aba Farda.

    Obbo Ittu Farda you comments here in borkena and all those propaganda mounted in favor of Abiy Amhed and his party costs an arm and leg. Since you are suceeding in throwing dust in our eyes. you are a successful embezzler. you are pull everyone’s leg , jocking and deceiving us into believing your lies as if you stand for oromos, amhara and gurage while endoring the genocide committed by Abiy. All those who support Abiy like Prof Hailemariam, Yonas biru and others support the genocide on Amhara, Oromos and Tigreans!!

  5. This is the best article so far by Dr. Yonas. Now, I understand how correct he was and how naïve I have been regarding the politics of my beloved country, Ethiopia. I hope those in power take this advice with open mind and use it to solve the remaining issues to bring lasting peace in Ethiopia.

  6. Hello Koki (aka Yonas),
    You say, “Any negotiation on the future constitutional governance of the country and border disputes between regions must be held between legitimately elected officials or a democratically established constitutional assembly, not by armed parties.” Remember it was dreamy and violent Tplf that incorporated land from northern Wello and eastern Gondar. Hence, no need to set up special committee. The solution is to return to borders before Tplf came to power. It is that simple. And federal government could and should act on this issue asap.

  7. Well said PhD Yonas Birru.

    “OLF-Shene represents the essence of Ethiopia’s problem. The malignant force is an Oromo spirit without a head. It is part bank-robber, part hostage taker, and part throat cutting and mass murdering savage establishment”.

    For every Amhara and law abiding Ethiopians know government is does not do this. Government is responsible for every word it uses, and takes responsibility and assurance that the rule of law is followed and applied.

    The collection of Abiy Ahmed and PP represent enemy invader hiding behind Ethiopia flag and speaking Ethiopian language. Such anti-government malignant cancer establishment should be removed right away by popular force and protest.

    The Extremist radical OLF Shene and, Jawar Mohammad, aided by Turkey are promoting violence in every way and messing up Ethiopia.

  8. Well said PhD Yonas Birru but you need to come clean. Covered in half sewer and half clean cloth does not smell good.

    “OLF-Shene represents the essence of Ethiopia’s problem. The malignant force is an Oromo spirit without a head. It is part bank-robber, part hostage taker, and part throat cutting and mass murdering savage establishment”.

    For every Amhara and law abiding Ethiopians know government is does not do this. Government is responsible for every word it uses, and takes responsibility and assurance that the rule of law is followed and applied.

    The collection of Abiy Ahmed and PP represent enemy invader hiding behind Ethiopia flag and speaking Ethiopian language. Such anti-government malignant cancer establishment should be removed right away by popular force and protest.

    The Extremist radical OLF Shene and, Jawar Mohammad, aided by Turkey are promoting violence in every way and messing up Ethiopia.

  9. There will never be lasting peace when THE cause of Millions of deaths are treated as normal human beings.
    Million of Afar, Amhara and Tigreas died and suffered by the power and war mongers Abiy Ahmed and Debretsion fight.

    These persons must be held accountable and go to court of law to serve life in prison sentence just like the Nazi Genocide criminals. The attempt to disguise people by the very wrong act of business as usual walk and talk is cruel and unacceptable. Ethiopians do not want to see the repeat of EPRDF that was ousted 30 years ago and still suffer by its remnant Orommuma cruel and barbaric collection of invaders.

    The UN, Europe, US and international pollical agenda is totally twisted and gone wrong when it comes to Ethiopia politics. No one speaks about Amhara Genocide, bringing power and war criminals Abiy and Debretsion to and co to face justice and held accountable for the millions of deaths and destructions.

  10. Quote: “The UN, Europe, US and international pollical agenda is totally twisted and gone wrong when it comes to Ethiopia politics. No one speaks about Amhara Genocide, bringing power and war criminals Abiy and Debretsion to and co to face justice and held accountable for the millions of deaths and destructions.” Unquote

    The above comment fully covers the negative attitude upon THE HONEST BLACK AFRICANS AROUND TH GLOBE” PERIOD.
    We can fool around, fighting each other, blaming each other, insulting each other, spending our time trying to emulate the WHITE MAN — yes, OUR COLONIZER WHO CAME TO BLACK BEAUTIFUL AFRICA WITH RELIGIOUS ROBE , WOUNDING-UP OCCUPYING OUR LAND AND HYPNOTIZING OUR MINDS. SAD TO SAY, WE ARE NOW HOPELESSLY DUPED, COMPLETELY LOSING OUR ROOTS AND OUR SIGHTS. INDEED, WHAT IS LEFT FOR US IS NOTHING BUT CRY FOR EVER.
    WITH ALL THE SO-CALLED MODERN EDUCATION AND PAPER MEANINGLESS ‘DEGREES’ >>> AND FIGHTING AMONG OURSELVES. CORRECT ME FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR DEAR BLACK AFRICA.

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