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HomeOpinionThe Deluding Scheme behind the Pretoria agreement 

The Deluding Scheme behind the Pretoria agreement 

TPLF _ Pretoria agreement _ Ethiopia _ Tagesse
Tagesse Chafo, speaker of House of Representatives, (first right) shakes hands with TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael as security details and another TPLF man watch. The Ethiopian parliament did not lift TPLF designation as a terrorist organization. (Photo : file/public domain)

By Dereje Yimer

Why did TPLF sign the agreement?

The ruthless TPLF clique used Tigray as a cannon fodder, to safeguard their narrow interest for the past two years. The war drastically impacted the overall economy. Many civilians left dead; the country is immersed in an astronomical havoc; the horrifying scene could not be eluded easily. With all this gloomy reality, the Pretoria peace agreement was brought into force. 

At the verge of sitting for peace talks, ENDF and its allied forces were marching to the regional capital, Mekelle, to conclude the war. TPLF was at the brink of collapse. The western bloc led by the USA, however, put undue pressure to rescue the terrorist group under the pretext of a peace deal. Mocking on the peace talks was the trademark of the group before. So, what was the plausible reason to sign the agreement? 

 First, the victory was in the favor of the ENDF and allied forces. TPLF lost many key towns and amassed the remnant combatants around Mekele. After having assessed the devastative loss, they changed their plan abruptly. Had it not been the case, the dynasty would have crumbled and the handful leaders handed over by the federal government. They were smart enough, instead, to escape from the impending failure. 

Secondly, diplomatic gymnastics was a calculated scheme. Looting the warehouse of WFP created some sort of hazy stance among EU key alliances. Yet the unusual incessant call for peace paved the way for the group to maneuver the international community. The Ethiopian government on the other hand, found itself in a diplomatic dilemma. The warmonger leaders turned out to be pacifist. A corollary of this is that the terrorist group has used the agreement as a smoke screen, to counter the pressure emanating from the pro-Ethiopian camp. In addition, it helped to take the public’s eye off the heinous act perpetrated by its combatants against many innocent citizens in Amhara and Afar regions. 

The speaker of parliament crossed the red line  

Two months on, after the Pretoria agreement ratified between the warring parties. The designated terrorist tag has not been lifted yet. The House of Peoples’ Representatives is in charge of putting it into effect.  Contrary, the Speaker of parliament, Tagese Chafo, went to Mekele together with other government delegates last month. According to the peace agreement, the African Union monitoring team must have traveled to the regional capital, to monitor the ongoing operation on the ground before. Without the clear guideline received from the monitoring team, the PP-top officials rushed to Mekele and hugged the terrorist leaders with broad smiles. It was a shocking scene. 

The speaker of parliament breaches the principle of HPR. His act epitomized the rubber stamp stance of the parliament. The thorny issue puzzling the country is the clear cut line between government and party. Devoid of checks and balances between the government branches turns the executive to be despotic. The elected parliament members consider themselves as a civil servant. They have never been in a position to safeguard the public interest by and large. Inept and sycophant cadres make the law making chamber. The current regime has not registered any success in this regard. The speaker of parliament’s unconstitutional move can justify the nominal role of the parliament in the critical decision making process. With all bear in mind, a premeditated plan was put in place behind the delegation trip.    

It is tacit that the peace talks were initiated and run by the ruling party. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed the resumption of peace-talks process with the terrorist group for the parliament abruptly.  He added that the negotiating team who is in charge to run the peace deals was assigned by the PP central committee. The ruling party act raised the issue of protocol at a time. 

The two federal houses and the highly affected regions Amhara and Afar regional councils were excluded from the process in the early beginning.  So PP as a party takes the driving seat in negotiating with TPLF.  The ruling party wanted to rectify the grave error with the political gesture demonstrated by the speaker of parliament. The trip is used as a window dressing to show that the government is still active in the peace agreement process.  

The new formidable challenge 

TPLF survives the doomsday; never think of the previous pre-emptive strike against the federal army. Instead, the leaders would establish a strategy of creating coalitions to target the central regime, such as, for example, the ethno-nationalists bloc under the umbrella of federalist forces. They aim to counter the power of the central government through granting allies extended ideological and logistic support for anti-peace groups. This would have a serious ramification on the political climate. We would fall into the same zero-sum game trap.  

According to the Pretoria agreement, creating the transitional regional council that includes various Tigrian political actors is the upcoming assignment. In light of this, the federal government is expected to craft the road map. Later, Regional elections would be conducted with the guideline of the National Election Board. It’s pretty easy to predict a landslide victory would be in favor of TPLF. After the election victory, rebranding the political orientation could be an urgent task.  In doing so, it creates some sort of alliance with aggressive ethno- nationalists residing in all regions. 

Hypocrisy and TPLF share the same womb. Various political actors erased from the face of earth with the treacherous act. When it loses the grip of power, it tries to delude the opponents in the name of negotiation. The hall mark ideology lays its foundation on this conspired scheme. Therefore, the incumbent regime is expected to reengineer the political strategy to counter the new challenge emanating from the aggressive ethno-nationalists led by TPLF.     

The way forward 

The strategic alliance between Amhara and Oromo political elites helped to dethrone the TPLF-led regime with remarkable success.  The political coalition has eroded through time, however. First, OLF-Shene played a destructive role in ruining the spirit of cooperation. Second, toxic rhetoric and conspiracy create a political rift between Oromo-PP and Amhara-PP. 

Now, the political dynamics holds a very dangerous track. The hard-liner in Oromo-PP declares open war on Orthodox Christian religion. This would open another Pandora-box that could lead a country into a hellish environment.  It is a bit difficult to hold back the deep crisis once a religion based conflict has erupted. Such a catastrophic chapter would help TPLF to rise as a fresh power.  So, a rebranded political alliance of Oromo-PP and Amhara-PP which is free from deception unlike the previous epoch is needed badly.   

As far as our political realm is governed by ethnic nationalism, the political climate is reliant heavily on the unity of two giant actors. The rebranded alliance might keep us from the upcoming TPLF-driven hurdle ephemerally.  

The long last solution relies on the hand of the new national dialogue commission. The government should empower the commission rather than paying lip service.  If this happens truly, we would get conducive room to employ a win-win political dialogue.  If we fail to do so, our political realm keeps on complicating in a vicious circle.  

Editor’s note : Opinion expressed in the article reflect the views of writer, not necessarily the views of


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