In the era during which Ethiopia had been governed by a royal family, it was apparent that family politics was serving the interests of a defined group.A king and his next of kins, as well as other noblemen affiliated to him through affinity constituted a royal family. Under feudal system, it is imperative that all high-ranking political offices be helmed by members of a royal family.
Junior officials and those in middle management in all localities were tax collecting servants appointed by the king to protect parochial interests. A royal family was solely entitled to take decisions in political and administrative affairs he deems fit, to grant preferential treatment of economic rights to certain favored parties, or to take measures of any kind on fellow citizens. Conferring sovereign immunity upon the royal family, Article 1 of then Ethiopia’s Constitution provided a clear-cut provision stating, “A king shall not be held liable in any case”.
How family-oriented politics operates becomes inexplicit or equivocal when regimes that assumed office underpropped by popular uprising manipulate their power, brushing aside the public trust, for partisan interests. Citing cases in point would shed light on what family politics that reigned during the Derg and the TPLF regimes look like. Family politics of the Derg and the TPLF regimes more or less share commonalities and yet bear differences. Whereas the Derg regime had seemed proponent of the communist ideology, this world outlook had not been optimal for private corporations, investment and trade. That political and economic decisions had been highly centralized proved Mengistu Hailemariam’s and a handful of his close relatives’ hegemony by evading popular participation. The Ethiopian masses had not only been ruled out from political participation, but had also been marginalized from political and economic developments, thereby deserted to live in deprivation and backwardness.
The TPLF’s family politics is in essence different from that of the Derg. The TPLF is a clique that resorts to prolong its tenure in the rhetoric of endorsing democracy and free market. While ethnic politics that the TPLF names democracy is but a subterfuge masterminded to vertically polarize the people of Ethiopia with a view to paralyzing strong resistance and ensuring political hegemony, the free market policy, on the other hand, is a system it has pursued to monopolize the nation’s entire economic and trade activities, as well as to recklessly pillage the country’s resources through setting up so-called private companies that are run by the clique. Having sidelined and marginalized the Ethiopian people from socio-economic development, the TPLF family has overindulgently plundered the past 19 years a myriad of the country’s wealth via the aforementioned double ruses for vested political and economic hegemony.
What is The TPLF’s Bonapartism Composed of?
Sprang from the people of Tigray that fought oppression and marginalization out with huge sacrifices for independence and human rights, the TPLF is a clique that betrayed the lofty cause of this people’s struggle. This greedy partnership espouses partisan interests of a handful benefit-oriented quarters who are affiliated to one another through blood and nepotism. The TPLF is thus a clique composed of individuals with key political, economic, financial, security and military positions in the government, who owe allegiance to the Prime Minister‘s family.
Composition of the TPLF’s Military institution better illustrates the point. Of the 61 strategic military posts in the institution, 58 are predominated by loyal servants of the family. This oligarchy is a bond of ambitious culprits bound together for partisan interests, who had been rivaling within the TPLF for power during the armed struggle, and yet, whose track record reads countless crimes they perpetrated. What’s more, of the country’s 25 Generals, with the exception of those hypocritically sprinkled three, 22 are members of the partisan oligarchy; a fact that attests to the blatant family-oriented political hegemony in the nation. All financial and administrative sectors are rife with such unabashed domination of power as is in the military, but more tightly, in the security institutions.
Family members of the TPLF installed in key positions of the government to oversee the supposedly private partisan companies have, for parochial interests, created conducive breeding ground for rampant corruption, having barred Ethiopian nationals from political, economic and trade activities. At the time in which a number of Ethiopian nationals devoid of a small roof over their heads are compelled to street smarts, the TPLF family, living in luxurious lifestyle, is privileged in Addis Ababa, Mekele, Bahrdar and other propitious cities to first class houses for trade activities on top of landholdings for agriculture and other business purposes.
A hoard of wealth the clique confiscated, owing to the de facto preferential treatment, is not meant for the day-to-day living. Because the expenditure of thousands of Birr for shopping, electricity, water supply, telephone bills and other services is budgeted directly by the government, the embezzled money is automatically funneled away to personal accounts in international banks. The budget earmarked for hosting guests and hospitality suite is incredibly huge. Out of the annual budget allocated, for instance, reports indicate that unaudited spending in Weyane’s military institution for hospitality suite amounts to Birr 280 million. All enterprises: Wegagen Bank, EFFORT, brewery industry, cement industry, Alpha University College, Mesfin Trading, Qat and live animal export Agencies and so on are owned by the TPLF’s family – including the country’s first lady.
Elucidating thievery and the resulting effect, President Isaias Afewerki stated on an occasion, “If there are 100 scoundrels or corrupt officials in any given state, and if each one of them commits fraud of 10 million dollars, then national resources worth 1 billion dollars is embezzled. Should we divide the funneled resources to 1 million people, everyone would take a share of 1 million Birr.”
To imagine that these rogues of the TPLF family, who have preyed upon the national resources entrusted to them, could be peacefully and legally removed from power as per the election results is tantamount to absurdity. Hard evidence of the election stage-managed in May 2005 has witnessed that the partisan clique shed blood of thousands of innocent civilians to stay at helm, albeit the Ethiopian people voted out the TPLF family.