Mogos Abraham, PhD
Center for Middle Eastern Studies
21 Aug. 2019
I was dumfounded to listen and watch news via multiple media
outlets telling the world that Abiy Ahmed Ali (hereafter Ali, using his
last name) has placed more than 1,500 Tigraian freedom
fighters and hardworking business persons (Tigraians) in
political-prison dungeons, unknown-underground political prisons. It must
be noted that all these Tigraians are embodiments
of Woyane, the revolutionary struggle for freedom. The illegal actions
were taken against the freedom fighters for no other reason than for being
Tigraian freedom fighters. Even if there were any allegations against
them, they were legally entitled to be innocent and free until proven
guilty, i.e., being free citizens in accordance with the law of the land.
Article 10 of the Ethiopian Constitution enunciates: (1).
Human rights and freedoms, emanating from the nature of mankind, are
inviolable and inalienable. (2).Human and democratic rights of citizens
and peoples shall be respected (emphasis added). Moreover, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations (1948)
makes it clear that:
11 (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed
innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which
he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act
or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or
international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier
penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal
offence was committed (emphasis added).
has violated the individual rights and freedoms of the Tigrayan. Why? Let
me start with a few thought triggering questions: (1) Why and how did the
cunning-street-smart Ali forged strong friendly relationship with the
TPLF’s heroes and heroines? (2) What was his role within the
intelligence apparatus of the EPRDF? (3) What strategies did he use to
become Prime Minister of Ethiopia? (4) Why and how did he betray the TPLF?
(5) Can he justify legally the mass arrest of more than 1,500, including
freedom fighters (generals and other high ranking officers) as well as
hardworking business men and women Tegaru?
(6) Why and how did Ali succeed in making the current Ethiopia a
weak sate; and subsequently, a
fragile state, heading to
become a failed state? These
are a few of the fundamental questions that can be used to analyze Ali’s
treasonous behavior and its tragic consequences.
Treasonous, Intelligence Officer
ultimate betrayal is a national treason, a crime of the highest order.
Traitors are opportunistic, weak, and liars. Ali is just that. When
Tigraian freedom fighters along with other progressive Ethiopian forces
destroyed Mengistu Hailemariam’s military machine in a few hours’ time
of final engagements around Addis Ababa on May 28, 1991 (Gunbot
20, 1983, the historic victory day of the masses), Ali was mesmerized and
absolutely hypnotized by the miraculous victory and the gallantry,
discipline, patience, politeness, and magnanimity of the Tigraian freedom
fighters. As a young man, who claimed to be one of the victims of the
Derg’s inhuman atrocities, Ali watched it all happen. He watched
destruction of the Derg and its largest and most sophisticated military
machine black Africa had ever seen. Derg and its infrastructure were
demolished for good. After 17 years of bitter, but systematic, guerrilla
warfare, the savagery of the military junta was eliminated. The
humiliating defeat forced Mengistu Hailemariam, the then Chairman of the
Communist Party of Ethiopia, to escape to Zimbabwe to live as a refugee.
Ali wanted to be like the Tigraian freedom fighters, the Woyenti
(in Tigrigna), meaning
revolutionaries. He admired and emulated them; and told them his personal
and family history. He presented himself as a victim of the heinous
military junta of Mengistu Hailemariam; that his father was subjected to
cruel treatments in the prison cells of the Derg; and that the Derg
murdered his elder brother. He added that he himself (Ali) and his many
relatives were subjected to the cruelties of the Derg. Thus, cunningly
enough, he became a friend of many of the Woyenti.
all his allegations as a victimized young man, the TPLF fighters accepted
him. He was trained as an intelligence officer; and served under the
command of the renowned intelligence officers of the TPLF. He became
fluent in Tigrigna. In fact, he became more Tigraian than we Tigraians
ourselves, because of his wittiness (manipulative,
clever, and humorous). In short, representing the OPDO (Oromo Peoples’
Democratic Organization), Ali became one of the trusted national security
officers within the EPRDF. He became one of Prime Minister Hailemariam’
s top ministers.
Ali breached the social contract he entered to serve Ethiopia with
professional integrity and ethics. He built a network of national and
international saboteurs that were working hard to make Ethiopia ungovernable,
with an ultimate goal of making the EPRDF government of that time, under
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, dysfunctional.
With his internal collaborators, mainly Demeke Mekonnen, Gedu Andargachew,
and Lema Megersa, along with their external supporters, such as Birhanu
Nega, Andargachew Tsigie, & Co. as well as Tamagn Beyene (another
cunning artist), armed with their media outlets, such as ESAT, Ali
succeeded in creating social, economic, and political turmoil throughout
Ethiopia. The traitors created the conditions for Ethiopia’s
ungovernability. Have a look and listen the following two links that
expose the treasonous acts of Ali & Co.:
Ali violated the sacrosanct of
the Constitution, which is a serious national treason.
Making of Ethiopia Ungovernable
Possessing an insider’s intelligence (information) and a cabinet
minister’s position, it was easy for Ali to be enlisted by external
forces in America, Europe, and the Middle East as a key player in
disintegrating the EPRDF government in order to create pathways to a
“regime change”. The ultimate goal was replacing the revolutionary
democratic developmental state with neoliberalism (i.e., imperialism),
against which the genius and globally respected Prime Minister, Meles
Zenawi, fought successfully. To meet that goal of a messenger, Ali
organized the so called Team Lema,
involving Demeke Mekonnen, deputy Prime Minister; Gedu Andargachew,
President of Amhara Regional State; Lema Megersa, President of the Oromia
Regional State; and Ali himself. The above evidences demonstrate that
these traitors were trusted hired guns of the external forces.
Shamelessly, they betrayed their own governing body, the EPRDF, and
benefited from the insiders’
information they possessed.
formed networks with intelligence organizations of external governments
and with disgruntled opposition groups of the diaspora. It succeeded in
creating sociopolitical conditions that made Ethiopia ungovernable.
Unemployed hooligans, riding motor bikes, torched industrial complexes and
public offices indiscriminately throughout Ethiopia, except
Tigrai; they did not dare to do anything like that in the land of the Woyenti,
the revolutionary freedom fighters. They knew what would follow.
the cowards committed crimes
against humanity: Tigraians were harassed, bitten, and killed in
cities of the Amhara Regional State. Under the watchful eyes of Team Lema – particularly Demeke Mekonen and Gedu Andargachew –
flash-mobs of hooligans unleashed genocidal rampages during the months of
July and August 2016 against Tigraians, who lived for generations in their
own Motherland. For the mere fact that they were Tigraians, hundreds were
mobbed and massacred; their properties were ransacked and torched; and
about 11,000 of them, including mothers and their children and the
elderly, were forced to escape to neighbouring North Sudan. Because of
these and similar atrocities throughout Ethiopia, a state of emergency was
declared. That is, Ethiopia was placed under strict conditions of military
Being so ignorant of the tragedies
that were to follow, Team Lema, Ginbot-7 of Birhanu Nega, Shaébia
of Eritrea, Egypt, and some other Arab countries, had wished for a smooth
regime change. They had no clue that their cruel actions were going to
backfire and immerse the country into a quagmire of a failed
state, like the tragedies of Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iraq,
and Afghanistan. Thanks to the farsightedness of the Ethiopian people and
strength of the Federal security apparatus, however, the deliberate
provocations of the enemies of Ethiopia were crashed; and the tragedies
that characterize a failed state were averted. The underground mob network
of terror they built was destroyed; most of the terrorists were captured
by the Ethiopian security forces; and those who were hiding in potholes in
the Amhara State and those who escaped to their Eritrean hideouts were
pursued and eliminated by the Ethiopian security forces.
at a crucial meeting of the executive body of the EPRDF, chaired by Prime
Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Team Lema made many unfounded allegations
(accusations) against the TPLF. They alleged that Tigrayan domination in
the governance system and personal weaknesses of the Prime Minister were
responsible for the national havoc. The Team demanded for a “regime
change”. To save Ethiopia from disaster, Prime Minister Hailemariam
agreed to resign; and was replaced by Ali. That is, Ali became an accidental-caretaker
Prime Minister of Ethiopia, i.e.,
until the 2020 Federal Elections, the year Prime Minister
Hailemariam’ s term of service ends. During
that confusion, TPLF made a crucial and clever strategic decision: it
moved to its roots, to the people of Tigrai for whose freedom it fought
the bitter and protracted war and won!
traitors, who had no knowledge of governing a complex country like
Ethiopia and the foresight of the human tragedies that were to follow,
they got what they wanted, the political power. However, because of their
ignorance and inabilities to foresee and govern, Ethiopia is in the abyss,
a bottomless tragic pit of hopelessness, a
fragile state heading to be a
failed state. Thanks God, TPLF, well-armed to defend itself and the
people of Tigrai, is monitoring the direction and the scale of the social,
economic, and political tragic crises Ethiopia is going through. From its
safe vantage point, using multiple media outlets, TPLF continues to voice
for the rule of law for all Ethiopians.
Sociopolitical and Economic Consequences of Treachery
In my recent piece, Rotten
and Fractured beyond Repair, EPRDF no More: Emergency Exit for TPLF, Now!
Part III, I highlighted the following sociopolitical and economic
factors that characterize a fragile state, which is on its pathways to
becoming a failed state: (i) about four million Ethiopians internally
displaced, ranking Ethiopia first in the world in this tragic human
misery; (ii) two renowned Tigraian generals and several leaders of the
Amhara leadership murdered; (iii) in all regional states, with the
exception of Tigrai, civilians and security personnel being killed
frequently; (iv) from 2018 to present, unidentified paramilitary forces
robbed more than 20 public and private banks in the Oromia State and Addis
Ababa; (v) soaring unemployment and inflation rates simultaneously, an
economic stagflation, characterizing
a stagnant economy, reveals the fact that the Ethiopian economy is in
ruins; (vi) the TPLF and the ADP, two of the four political entities that
constitute the EPRDF, the current governing body, are at each other’s
throats; (vii) a dangerous social distrust is prevalent throughout
Ethiopia: neighbours, different ethnic groups, individuals, and even
ministers of the State, do not trust one another, revealing a widespread
impotence and disillusionment in the political governance system, which is
holding Ethiopia in social traps, mutually reinforcing hazardous elements in a society;
the most dangerous social distrust being within the EPRDF’s membership,
the inept governing body; (viii) self-serving ultra-right wing religious
and political groups and individuals, who live in luxurious homes with
their families in America, Europe, and the Middle East (Arab States),
financed jobless paramilitary hooligans to create tragic interethnic civil
conflicts that left thousands of innocent people slaughtered in various
localities of Ethiopia, with the exception of Tigrai; and (ix) with full
knowledge of the Federal Government of Ali, the Amhara State leaders
closed all federal (public) highways that link the social and economic
fabrics of the Amhara and Tigrai peoples.
of War against Tigrai
pointed out above, it was with implicit approval of Ali, the so called
Prime Minister; the Amhara Regional Government blocked all traffic that
was moving people as well as consumer and capital goods to Tigrai through
federal highways that cross the Amhara Killil
(Regional State). This act was a declaration
of war of the Amhara extremists against Tigrai. Their ultimate goal
was to destroy all socioeconomic activities in Tigrai; and, subsequently,
to force the people of Tigrai into submission to their wishful
dreams of governing the land of Woyane.
Had they succeeded, they were eager to commit crimes of oppression
and subjugation similar to those of Minilik, Haile Selassie, and Mengistu.
They failed miserably. Most of
these extremist elements had forgotten the lessons TPLF taught them
repeatedly during the 17-year bitter armed struggle and after the victory.
Keep in mind, Ali was one of the trusted disciples (students) of TPLF.
Most of them, including Asamenow Tsigie, were TPLF’s POWs (prisoners of
war). All were taught how to behave with civility.
they forgot their lessons and attempted to force Tigrai into submission.
To their absolute dismay, however, Tigrai is now the most stable, secure,
and prospering Regional State; and is well armed to defend itself; ready
to teach those who might miscalculate lessons they will never forget. The
international community is well aware of this fact; and this truth has
elevated TPLF’s popularity and respect nationally and internationally.
The prevailing primacy of the rule-of-law throughout Tigrai manifests that fact.
Mekelle is visited frequently by many diplomats and intellectuals to
express their respective views and admirations of the leadership.
contrast, the Amhara Regional State is in a state of shock and sorrow.
People are afraid. They do not know what the future holds for them and
their children: the regional economy is in shambles; unemployment is
soaring; household income value (purchasing power) continues to diminish
hourly; there is no law and order; corruption is rampant; social turmoil
is spreading throughout the land of Amhara; and the regional social
capital has depreciated to zero value. In short, declaring war against
Tigrai backfired against the Amhara ultra-right wing extremists. This is
one of the lessons the chauvinist-ignorant extremists and their next
generations will never forget. History matters, as we all know it.
Only Pathways to Peaceful Coexistence
The patience, the civility, and the magnanimity of the
people of Tigrai must be acknowledged. Throughout their history, the
people of Tigrai paid immeasurable lion’s share of sacrifices to defeat
external invaders to protect Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and
sovereignty; and to win freedom for
all nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia from the chains of
humiliating political oppression and subjugation by Imperialist rulers and
military dictatorship. However, they (the people of Tigrai) are not asking
for any compensation or special recognition. They just want to live in a
national environment of peace, freedom, security, prosperity, and harmony
with all their Ethiopian compatriots. The people of Tigrai have never been
and never will be vindictive. They would like to be seen as civil,
compassionate, magnanimous, and patriotic Ethiopians.
But, please understand, civility, humility, and
patience are not signs of
weakness. The quest for justice that remedies all historical grievances
must be addressed. Enough is
enough! Let it be known that this generation of Tigraians will
not remain complacent to all the injustices that afflicted enduring harm
on Tigrai. There is an urgent need for redressing all historic
miscarriages of justice against Tigrai. The immediate action Ali must take
is to repent for his ultimate betrayal sins, apologize, and free the more
than 1,500 Tigraian political prisoners: the generals, other high ranking
military officers, and hardworking business persons. All are innocent and
free of any wrong doing until proven guilty in the
court of law.
Let freedom reign throughout Ethiopia!
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect ethioobserver position. ethioobserver does not exercise any editorial control over the information therein. ethioobserver cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any actions taken (or not taken) as a result of reading the material displayed.