The product of sub-national politics
One of the main factors contributing to the political crisis and overall collapse of Ethiopia is the ways and means pursued by consecutive leaders of the country, who failed to follow a political goal that is of national dimension and one that serves all segments of the society equally while promoting respect for the human rights of each and every Ethiopian. Instead by masquerading behind a selected nationality, they opt to crush others through power, which as such is backward as well as vulgar aspect and part of sub-national politics. As history attests, Emperors Menelik and Haileselassie tried to subdue all other non-Amhara entities at gun-point by considering them second or third class citizens. All political and administrative components, the ownership of land and other resources in the country were made to fall under the Amhara nobility. The Marxist Derg regime which inherited the throne was unable to bring about another reliable common ideology that is free from this paternal conceit. As there can’t exist a society that would be oppressed and mauled for ever, the people of Ethiopia, overcoming the hegemony of the minority and persecution which they couldn’t tolerate got rid off these regimes one after the other and throw them into the dustbin of history through organized and spontaneous opposition. These preceding regimes though they appeared to favor the Amharas, in real terms they were of no avail to the majority. They simply used them as a shield except very few lords and other people in position of power. In fact these ill-fated Amhara nationality group became objects of animosity on the part of other Ethiopians due to the alleged representation they were assumed to have for leadership.
The TPLF regime which assumed power after the fall of these tyrant regimes, should have learned more by gleaning from previous experiences. It should have established a democratic system that involves all nationalities giving equal political opportunity to all. A just administration that answers the question of Tigray as well as the request of all other Ethiopians should have been set up. However, even this regime by blunting the revolutionary struggle initiated by the people of Tigray for respect of their rights, managed to mould it into a shallow mission of vendetta. And by using the people of Tigray as a pretext while subjugating and suppressing other peoples, far worse sub-national politics was brought to the fore by this regime which degenerated to the extent of incorporating it into the national constitution. And it decided to guarantee its continued stay in power in such a way. Understanding beforehand that ethnic politics breeds confrontation and disturbance rather than peace and tranquility, the people of Ethiopia have from the outset been opposing vehemently the sub-national politics that the TPLF tried to legalize under the pretext of Federalism. Nevertheless, promoting this antiquated politics as a favorite means applied by the developed nations and presenting it as an indication of democracy and still by giving a deaf ear to the majority, the TPLF implemented it through force without the will of the people. And the outcome was not that much different than what the people of Ethiopia have long expected. Ethnic clashes and unrest rocked Ethiopia turning it into an awful bloodbath during the rule of the TPLF which the country had never experienced before in its history.
Right from the start, the people of Ethiopia have been continuously opposing this sub-national politics which currently has plunged the country into a complicated political crisis. And to break the opposition of the people through the barrel of the gun, the current regime frequently carried out unparalleled genocide, which is difficult to record and recite. When the clique set foot in Addis Ababa for the first time, it began its tenure in office by spilling the blood of innocent people. Without going far in 2001, the regime by opening fire on university students massacred a number of youths. In 2002, in the towns of Nekemtie, Ambo and other areas of Ormoia dozens of Oromo youngsters were indiscriminately murdered. And following the 2005 elections, the killing spree that broke out in many Ethiopian urban centers which took the lives of innocent students and civilians are few of the many shocking incidents carried out by the regime. Furthermore , in addition to the indiscriminate killings the regime has done on its own, it fueled ethnic clashes in many corners of the country over the past 16 years in line with the sinister belief, “ we can survive only if we instigate frequent clashes among the people”, and as such this resulted in gruesome ethnic-based conflict. The ethnic clashes that ignited between the people of Gerina and Borena, Mezdjenger and Shiko, Guji and Borena, Sidama and Guji, Gedeo and Guji, Gamo and Dawro, Hadia and Kenbata, Siltie and Gurage, Harari and Oromo, Afar and Somalis, Nuer and Agnwak are few of the many conflicts that brought about untold decimation. And this is a glaring outcome of the sub-national politics that the regime cynically employs.
It is, however, far from possible to hold on to power by terrorizing and frightening people. What the regime has done to guarantee its continued stay in power on the contrary gave rise to a strong armed and civilian confrontation, which eventually became a totally inextinguishable fire that is nearly pushing the regime down the slope.
A clique like the TPLF that grabbed power representing a segment of society, if it really had the concern of its people and again takes into consideration the safe road ahead, first and foremost it should have created a conducive environment for its people to foster peaceful and good neighborly ties with other people. Because, it can only lay a reliable and secure foundation for development and prosperity if and only if there exists peace and respect among the people of the whole country and towards those of neighboring countries.
In this respect, if we ask what the people of Tigray, who have paid dearly for assuring their own self-determination, had benefited out of the TPLF regime, the answer is very depressing: There has never been a day when the people of Tigray had peace during the TPLF regime’s rule. On the contrary, the leadership of the TPLF, in order to satisfy a narrow sentiment, gluttony and interest, has used the people of Tigray as a pretext by subjecting them to a multitude of atrocities without any kind of care. Using the people of Tigray as a shield, it opted to conduct unpalatable crime and destruction on other peoples. And this has created much enmity and abhorrence towards the people of Tigray. The crimes perpetuated by the TPLF have made the people of Tigray to be looked upon as cruel and fiendish. The TPLF clique which has set chaos throughout the country as a result of its antiquated politics has made the people of Tigray initiate a polarized state of confrontation with its age-old partners, i.e. fellow Ethiopians. It has also tricked the people to fight and quarrel with its neighbor, Eritrea, and as a consequence this has left behind a gushing wound as a legacy among the neighboring people.
The time for the collapse of the TPLF regime is not that far. Hence, at this time where the downfall of the TPLF is clearly and boldly visible, the people of Tigray and the people of Ethiopia as a whole, especially the country’s political forces need to carefully examine and recognize that from now on there will not be any benefit from employing sub-national politics rather than a piteous, shameful destruction and death. Thus, it is high time that these forces learn from the malicious mistakes of the TPLF and pay heed. Such a sane understanding is the expectation of all those who aspire for peace and development.