TPLF’s Psychological Warfare: A Longstanding Practice and a Deadly Weapon of its Political Existence
By Fessehaye Kidane, Asmara
- Ethnic-based Constitution of Ethiopia and its Legacies
Evidently, Ethiopia since the TPLF’s rule till its demise was unfortunate. Perchance the reason is that solely the 1995 constitution was deliberately coined such that the ethnic federalism as its core substance rendered frictions and mayhem among its people. As a matter of fact, the TPLF leadership as new governors of Ethiopia opted to pursue a course of a political system based on ethnic federalism arguably as a continuation of their organization’s narrow vision as of its inception.
In the wake of the downfall of the ex-Communist regime of Ethiopia, the new TPLF-based leadership of Ethiopia was in no way ready to accept advices that such an ethnic-based constitution was not useful to the people of Ethiopia. Among others, one of the people who happened to get a privilege of sharing his comment on the draft constitution of Ethiopia was Eritrea’s President. As he himself asserted in several of his interviews, upon reading and digesting meticulously and painstakingly the content of the constitution twice, he didn’t conceal his ideas that such a constitution ‘would serve nothing except to polarize Ethiopian societies between ethnic lines.’ However, the then PM of Ethiopia, late Meles Zenawi, gave him a deaf ear saying that it was to his expectation as far as the wisdom and views of President Issaias Afewerki were concerned. In vis-à-vis what the two heads of states shared at the time, one may then not wonder that the 1995 ethnic-based constitution of Ethiopia was meant only to serve the TPLF elite, but not to the people of Ethiopia.
There is no question that the last deposed leadership of Ethiopia bedeviled and obsessed Ethiopians as ‘sages and Idols’ of the country seemingly from feudalism and socialism, for three decades. As a result, the legacies of the ill-motivated constitution were a slaughter on an epic scale as far as Ethiopian subjects were concerned. In brief, during the era of the TPLF, ‘justice’ in Ethiopia meant oppression and exploitation of people and public assets. In the parlance of a famous African nationalist and hero, Patrice Lumumba (June, 30, 1965), yet “the wounds of [Ethiopian citizens] are too fresh and too painful to drive them from their memory.” Indeed, since the constitution institutionalized subversion, polarization and animosity by design, Ethiopia as a state is apparently still in quagmire and is suffering from ethnic syndrome even after PM Abiy Ahmmed snatched a legitimate power from his predecessors.
Even in this time around, protests of Amhara students and teachers are surfacing in the capital of Ethiopia seemingly due to the so-called imposition of Oromo regional flag and anthem on the school system of Ethiopia. It seems evident that even such demonstrations are apparently triggered as a result of the constitution’s deep-rooted scars. By and large, over the three decades it can be fairly said that owing to the partiality and apartheid tactics of the TPLF policies, Ethiopians might have felt as if their politics was in foreign hands. In fact, it seems a public secret that Ethiopian age-old political experiences, traditions and values were purportedly wholesale to Western states, not least the USA. The reason is that the TPLF consciously favored a political trajectory of servitude rather than an independent political line.
In a sense, during the brutal two years and three rounds of civil war of Ethiopia since November 2020 including all the way up to the unexpected Peace Deal of Pretoria what the TPLF patrons did to Ethiopians is unforgivable by any standards. Regardless of its humiliating military and diplomatic defeat in the history of Africa, the ill-motivated Western institutions and activists of Ethiopia left no stone unturned to pay it back a ‘a compensation and cover-up to its subservience ranging from fake propagandas and concocted narratives even up to a temptation of emboldening, provoking and equipping it through military arsenals as well’ while all the causes and evils of the hostility belong to the TPLF.
- Ethiopian ‘Paradigm Shift’ From Sectarian Politics and Narratives of the TPLF
Meanwhile, the TPLF elite under the guise of the EPRDF and revolutionary democracy has turned no stone in indoctrinating to the people of Ethiopia including to the international community as if it has created a participatory political ground which has never been seen ever since. Nevertheless, what it used to preach and propagate, as a practice of democracy to the people of Ethiopia, was good for nothing. In stark contrast, it only exercised to sell the long-standing ‘Pseudo-Narrative’ of the TPLF which was in play as a poisonous weapon of intrigue to its subjects since its inauguration in the political capital of Ethiopia. Moreover, regardless of the TPLF’s Pseudo-Narrative used to target to its agenda of oppression and subversion, if need be, also accompanied by coercion, Ethiopians well know what is good and bad both for their country and to their people. That’s why they resorted to knocking down the TPLF stooge through a peaceful demonstration from without its party and via a peaceful coup from within its political circle.
The fact is that in the modern time governing a vast country with more than 100 ethnic groups through a fake narrative and coercion was found to be impossible by any standards. The current governing Prosperity Party and its political elite were, of course, part and parcel of the TPLF’s dirty politics and intrigues. The fact is that there is no doubt that the PP political elite grew at the helm of the EPRDF’s political shadow. Nonetheless, no matter whether or not it was drenched with the pseudo-narrative and conspiracy theory of its former coaches, what matters is apparently the lessons it learned; the experiences and art of governance learned amounted more to the benefit and interest of Ethiopia. In other words, the courses of political actions that the PP followed suit since its divorce from the TPLF so far seem promising; perhaps such indications of trying to unite Ethiopians of all walks of life and ethnicities under the motto of ‘Unity and Synergy (MEDEMER)’ is the result of his schooling from what the Premier and his PP elites accumulated during their stay in the EPRDF’s ship of sectarian politics. Despite the fact that the PP paid a heavy cost for the political paradigm shift of Ethiopia, unlike its predecessor, the political capacity of the party in keeping the unity versus diversity of the country will sooner or later come into life as far as it kept its policy of Pan-Ethiopianism. At the moment, the fact that the TPLF is at an underdog level both by a political flexibility and military muscle of the Ethiopian government and its Allied Forces may open a way forward to translate its visions into practice.
Writer’s Brief Note:
Fessehaye Kidane Melaky is based in Asmara. He is a cadre of education in the Eritrean Ministry of Education at the Office of the Minister. Besides being an author of one book in English (entitled Star Reader), he has also written dozens of articles both in English and Tigrigna (mother-tongue language) versions in the State-owned Newspapers namely Eritrea Profile and New Eritrea. As a case in point, the writer’s recent publications in Eritrea Profile and Hadas Eritrea respectively include ‘From Home Song’ to ‘Family in an Ordeal’ (Shabait.com, Feb 16, 2019) and (መጕስዕ ኲናት ስነ-ልቦና ኽሳዕ መኣስ፧ ጋዜጣ ሓዳስ ኤርትራ፣ ሚያዝያ 2022 or ‘Regurgitation of Psychological Warfare: For How Long Will It Last?’). Prior to that, he has contributed various articles regarding education, linguistics, book reviews and political history of Eritrea.
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