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Tecola W Hagos, 17 April 2019

In General

The escalating antagonism between Amhara and Tigraian leaders started way back in our Ethiopian history during the time Ras Sehul Mikael marched his soldiers from Adowa to Gondar to help the young Emperor Iyoas (1755–69). However, soon after Sehul Mikael became the controlling power, the relationship between Emperor Iyoas and Sehul Mikael deteriorated and resulted in confrontations and insubordinations. Sehul Mikael had the young Emperor killed by hanging. A century later another warlord Dejazamtch Sebagadis Woldu, who was from Irob, did effectively controlled the region now identified as Tigrai Kilil. He too was defeated by warlords of Semein/Begemder on 14 February 1831 at the Battle of Mai Islami near Debre Abbay and was executed on the battle ground.

The battle resulted in immense casualties, one of whom was Ras Marye. Sebagadis was defeated and trying to escape the vengeance of Ras Marye's kinsmen, surrendered to his former ally Dejazmach Wube.  Wube betrayed Sebagadis and handed Sebagadis over to Marye’s victorious Army that executed him. Soon after, the mostly Oromo army under their new commander, Ras Dori of Yejju, devastated and looted Tigray. In the chaos that followed the death of Sabagadis, Wube became the primary warlord of Semien and Tigray and proved to be a very harsh ruler. [The irony is that Sabagadis was admired and remembered by Amharas as a generous and kind leader even though he was defeated in battle.]

The relationship between the warlords of the two communities was very sour and caustic even during the time of Yohannes IV. However, the common people from both areas had very amicable relationships with numerous intermarriages and population movements mostly from Tigrai region into Begemder/Gondar, Gojjam, and Wollo. Fast forward, in the last twenty-seven years, Tigrians have dearly paid with their lives and with the lives of tens of thousands of their children in serving the selfish and diabolical interests of a handful of pseudo intellectuals who led TPLF and most of whom ultimately turned out to be thieves and con artists with insatiable love of money and power.

The ruminants of the TPLF’s old leadership are still in power in Tigrai in full control of the TPLF. In reality, they are hiding from justice for the numerous and horrendous crimes they committed while in power for nearly half a century both during the liberation struggle and the dictatorial rule of Ethiopia. They are also hiding their loot of ill begotten wealth acquired either directly through kickbacks and phony accounts or indirectly through family members controlled business setups, from scrutiny and seizure by the new government. Political cracks and figures are appearing in the monolithic power structure in the TIPLF‘s Tigrai Kilil itself. Those political cracks and figures are manifestations of the problems in the underlying wrong and corrupt socio-economic foundation of the political and economic goals of TPLF.

Legitimate Tigrians Concerns?

Blaming Amharas is still a hot propaganda piece that the TPLF old leaders had used to mobilize Tigrians to fight against the Military Regime during the struggle for liberation. Current TPLF Leaders are still using the same form of fear mongering twenty seven years later, which is really pathetic and laughable especially in light of the fact that they were in power for twenty seven years of absolute power and total control of Ethiopia. By just looking at the recent facts, it is obvious to observe even by a child that Amharas are used as the boogeyman to frighten the Tigrean population and to rally the rest of the Ethiopian people with a focus point for targeting Amharas. As usual, once again the Leaders of TPLF are underestimating the intelligence of common folks. However, since January of 2018, numerous peaceful Tigrean individuals living in Amhara Kilil were evicted, their property looted, and about one hundred murdered by organized Amhara special forces in civilian guises.

On January 31, 2018, Tigraionline reported exact figures of the number of Tigrain victims in Amhara Kilil: Nearly 11, 000 Tigraians have been deported from Amhara regional state in 2017. [Eighty-two] 82 Tigraians have lost their lives in the region’s towns. Thousands of business owned by Tigraians including big hotels and restaurants were burned, looted and confiscated. The government did absolutely nothing about the crimes that took place in broad day light in front of the police and security forces.” One single reason why I suggested a few months ago to start a third Woyane rebellion was to counter such genocidal moves by the leaders of ANDM in the Amhara Kilil. I did caution that the 3rd  Woyane movement will not repeat the error of the 2nd Woyane movement of Meles Zenawi in fragmenting Ethiopia with deeply flawed ethnic based federalism. I also emphasized that the leadership of the 3rd Woyane  must discipline itself to avoid corruption. Such past flawed ethnic based political state structure led to the present degenerated situation that the current Ethiopian Leaders are trying to fix, but with even worse ethnic entrenchment of the worst kind.

Tigrean leaders whether traditional or revolutionary did abuse, did hurt, and did misrule directly other Tigrians, as is the case right this moment in Tigrai Kilil. Debretsion Gebremicheal (PhD) along with every TPLF Leader is a Tigrain.  No Amhara can be blamed for the atrocity that was committed by TPLF leaders for the last forty four years and continues to this day. Just stop being narrow ethnicists and take responsibility in acknowledging that the actions of Tigrian leaders had hurt immensely Tigraians. I am informed by reliable sources that the degree of abuse and the form of absolute authoritarianism in the administration in Tigrai Kilil is the worst in the State of Ethiopia. It seems that the People of Tigrai are held hostages and the Abiy Leadership is being blackmailed by Debretsion Ghebremichael and by TPLF.

Recently, Dergeadjen, Quiha; Enderta, Mekelle et cetera are the new flash points of rebellion. Nebiyou Sehulmichaele and Tsigabu Equiba were brutally attacked along several Citizens and were hauled of destination unknown, for trying to clean up the town of Quiha apparently in response to the national call by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of 12 April 2019. Did the Amharas force Debretsion to commit such criminal atrocities against peaceful Citizens violating their constitutional Rights? Tigrai Kilil Administration seems to think that it is an independent governing body of a state/nation. The TPLF Leaders who control the Tgrai Kilil administration must be held accountable for such fracturing of a Nation of Ethiopia.

No one man or political organization had devastated Ethiopia as much as Meles Zenawi and his political organization (TPLF/EPRDF) had done in the last twenty-seven years. I am not writing here about the suffering of millions of Ethiopians whose human rights and political rights are abused or violated daily, but about much more serious processes of the destruction of the very fiber of Ethiopia as a nation and as a political, economic, and cultural entity. No one is denying that some development projects, such as industrial parks, numerous schools, et cetera were built during Meles Zenawi’s dictatorial rule. Even a broken/stopped watch can tell time accurately twice in a twenty-four hours day. However, such development projects are show-pieces launched mostly in Addis Ababa (worth billions of dollars), and in Oromo Kilil (several billions of investment projects and highways), rail et cetera, and a couple in Amhara Kilil.  By contrast, Tigrai Kilil is the least developed of all the Kilils. In Tigrai, not even development in life sustaining projects such as projects on adequate supply of water to the city of Mekelle, the townships of Axum, Adowa and several others was undertaken as national projects.

Once upon a time there was arguably some redeeming value in the TPLF, but since 1992 it had atrophied until it was completely corrupted and gutted by 1999 and Meles Zenawi became the dictator doing whatever pleased him to do. Most of the Western nations had turned a blind eye to the atrocities and the gross human rights violations by Meles Zenawi and his psychopathic enforcers. Meles Zenawi is a truly depraved man with psychopathic personality. As a people, since the time of the destructive romp of Gragn Mohammed for thirteen years, we have failed for centuries from consistently and successively developing responsible and mature leadership. What had happened in our history is sporadic and unpredictable leadership, which at times inspiring and at other debouched and destructive.

Amharas Suffered Too, Just as Much

Throughout the last one thousand years or so, the historical facts show, with the exception of some short periods of outside intrusions, local nobles had been the immediate rulers of the region that now constitute Tigrai. The territorial designation of the region as “Tigrai” is a very recent one with the  investiture of Ras Michael as King of Wollo and Tigrai, by his son LiJ Iyassu in 1913. Consider all the leaders that ruled over Tigrians before the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974: they were all individuals from the indigenous population of Tigrai region. For example, just before the overthrow of Emperor Hile Selassie, the Governor of Tigrai was Ras Mengesha Seyoum, before that was Ras Seyoum, after the death of Mengesha Yohannes, and before that Emperor Yohannes IV. Such successions covered a period of  almost two hundred years, wherein only Tigrains ruled over Tigrai.

Now, Where do the Amharas come into the picture? Well, there is the 1st Woyane rebelion of 1943 that is often cited by Tigrian intellectuals as evidence of “Amhara” atrocities. But that is fallacious or at best misleading for the Ethiopian Government was not an “Amhara” Government but of thoroughly mixed ethnic identity. And I need to remind you that Emperor Haile Selassie was of mixed ancesctery of  fifty percent Wollo/Oromo on account of his Mother, twenty-five percent (25%) Tigrai in the case of his Grandfather, and less than Twenty percent Amhara through his Paternal Grandmother. The Ethiopian Commander against the Woyane was Ras Abebe Aregay, a fifty/fifty percents Oromo Mother (Ras Gobena’s daughter) and Amhara Menze Father. Abebe Aregay is a Patriot, hero of the five-years Ethiopian soverngnity struggle against an Italian occupation force. 

I read often in essays and commentaries by well educated Ethiopians on the lack of nation-wide economic development in Ethiopia always connecting such underdevelopment to poor governance.  Such assertion has been repeated so often that no one is looking carefully whether such linkage truly reflect the reality  at ground level in the lives of Ethiopians.  I have been challenging such assumption for years without much tractions. When I observe the same form of ploughing practiced continually for over three thousand years, or drink and use river water polluted by animal waste, et ceetera, there is something seriously wrong with the general population of Ethiopia. This means that Ethiopian leaders should not be singled out for blaming for the primitive condition of life in Ethiopia.

In several of my comments/articles, I did object against Abiy Ahmed’s new government policy in allowing terrorist political organizations, criminal political leaders et cetera into Ethiopia in the guise of “forgiveness” and “medemer”. The ongoing violent attacks, looting, raping, and murder of Ethiopians especially identified as Amharas in West Wollega, around Addis Ababa, in North Shewa and Amhara Oromo Zone at Karaqori, Kemise, and in Efrata- Ataye North Shewa is absolutely unacceptable. The OLF armed thugs were identified by reliable officials responsible for the security of the towns mentioned above that have been attacked with heavy weapon and projectiles.

Dawood Ibsa and the senior officials of OLF, who pretend to have lost control of the OLF subversive armed terrorists a few days prior to the attack, must be arrested right away and brought to justice.  In this fight for the survival of Ethiopia, the Leaders of TPLF seem to be in cahoots with OLF. Such form of Byzantine antiquated partisanship is counter productive and leaves long term suspicion and mistrust among groups of people.  Do not for a second think that I am against Oromos just because I condemn terrorists who murder, loot, et cetera based on ethnic identity.  The OLF is a terrorist organization that should be banned in Ethiopia and its active participants must be arrested and brought to justice.

The 1995 Ethiopian Constitution: The Source of Ethiopia’s Catastrophe

At the time of the drafting of the current Ethiopian Constitution, I have pointed out its sever defects. I opined that it will not work because it was drafted not as a concrete expression of the aspirations of the people of Ethiopia, nor as an instrument for the promotion of a political and economic ideology in the interest of the Ethiopian People. It seems it was drafted with a narrow purpose to insure the ascendance to power and promote the interest of a single group of people. The problems that the 1995 Constitution failed to answer are coming to the forefront every day during this time of national crisis. I have identified a few herein below. 

The 1995 Constitution has numerous defects which renders it useless in a time of crises where the very existence of the nation is at stake. The Constitution is a hotchpotch of cannibalized ideas on government structure; on human rights principles; on the separation, check, and balance of power; et cetera. It is claimed to have been influenced by Constitutional principles from Canada, Switzerland, India, United States et cetera. Those principles scavenged from different sources were not fully digested and incorporated into a viable system. The Constitution has failed to address important issues on several political bottlenecks that become obvious now. The issue of judicial review, the very engine of a nation in cases of controversy between different branches of government or issues dealing with questions of political power, is never properly resolved by the Constitution since Representatives are given the power of adjudication as well. There is no point in trying to make sense of a constitutional procedure that is untenable.

The most challenge to the continued existence of Ethiopia as a viable nation is the creation of self-governing mini-states following the Constitution. Without the necessary political and economic developmental context and the availability of proper literature dealing with the numerous problems that arise with the establishment of such structure, such constitutionally mandated structure is leading Ethiopia to its destruction. The Constitution simply created numerous new areas of conflicts between the Central Government and the many States on allocations of territory, on ethnic identity, on funding and taxation, on the enforcement of federal statutory requirements et cetera. Just

A number of people may think that to talk now about a constitution that has been in place since 1995 is far too late and quite confusing. A number of Ethiopians may even opt for such a constitution than no Constitution. Nevertheless, the issue of the constitution is not going to fade away—it is our nightmare that we need to confront. I have maintained all along these many years that we need to dump this Constitution and start from scratch. Maintaining such a corrupt document simply blind us from taking corrective steps by giving us false hopes of none existent security to be found in the supremacy and protection of a Constitution.


It is a sad situation that Debretsion and the Tigrai Kilil leadership (TPLF) are incubating OLF and its leader Dawood Ibsaas as some form of a Joker to countermined Abiy Ahmed. The game plan has nothing to do with the welfare of the Tigrai population, nor with the wellbeing of Tigrai Kilil, nor with the welfare of Ethiopians in general. It seems it is tailor-made to protect the corrupt and criminal Old-guards of the TPLF Leadership. They certainly have a lot of money, but that should not deter patriotic and ethical individuals within the local government structure of the Tigrai Kilil, the TPLF special forces, and new recruits from challenging them and changing this anti-people, anti-Ethiopia rotten leadership.

Another activity by the Leaders of TPLF that might be perceived as ant peace is the concerted effort to destroy the peace agreements the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afeworki had recently concluded in 2018-19. I do not particularly care that much about that agreement since it is premised to help Eritrean interest by upholding the corrupt decision of the Border Arbitration Commission. However, it is not the most alarming event concerning Eritrea. By cutting out Tigrai Kilil from the negotiation and the optics, it has led to a situation that there is no dynamic movement on any level between the Eritrean and the Ethiopian Governments. The troublesome situation that is far more important security risk is the use of Eritrea as an outside power to call upon if Tigrai state is out of line. The recent change of Government in Sudan is already taking its toll in Ethiopian politics.

Simply put, TPLF leaders are acting as criminal bosses, without regard to the common good for society or even to their local constituents. What is the threat paused against Tigrians by the Amharas or the Oromos? Nobody seems to articulate what the danger or threat is right now since ethnic cleansing has come to a halt at this point in both Amhara and Oromo Kilil. Yes, there are sporadic blocking of roods and transportations of consumer goods, but they are all aimed at TPLF not at Tigrai ordinary people. Of course, when it flares up again, it will have no end leading to real civil war. A couple of days ago, the TPLF leaders seem to declare their independence. What is the urgency for such statement, wherein there are numerous survival concerns that must be addressed without delay.


Tecola W Hagos

17 April 2019

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