TPLF: An Ethnic Dictatorship – ByTesfaye Kebede (sadist kilo)

January 13th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

TPLF from its establishment to present has never been serious about democracy. Let alone to practice democracy they don’t even believe in the very basic principles of democracy. (more…)

TPLF from its establishment to present has never been serious about democracy. Let alone to practice democracy they don’t even believe in the very basic principles of democracy. For them democracy is something which shouldn’t be prioritized and not compatible with economic development. Born from a twisted ideology of Albanian communism, TPLF is inherently against democratic values such as freedom of speech, association, gathering and independence of judiciary among others. A party which has never experienced or practiced democracy internally can never be trusted in extending it for others.

A look back of the history of TPLF clearly reveals that any dissenting views were not tolerated. However, it is not surprising to hear their leader, Meles, passionately talking about the virtues of democracy. In many occasions he goes as far as saying that ‘democracy for Ethiopia is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of survival’. The statement by itself is true. But, does he really mean it? Does any of his action at the helm of power for nearly twenty years indicate that he is true to what he says? The answer for this is a resounding No and plenty of evidence can be presented for.

Meles is a hard core believer of developmental state. In a draft of a thesis he is writing he has clearly put his believe that one party should stay in power for decades so that it can implement its long term policies. What ever talk of democracy or election is just for the consumption of the international community which the country heavily depends on. Even the relatively fair and free election of 2005, which later ended up with a day light vote rigging and killing of hundreds of innocent civilians, was allowed to happen based on two wrong premises. Firstly, opposition parties were thought in disarray and so weak to challenge the incumbent, and the election was seen as a good opportunity to show case the fake democratic transformation of the country for the international community.

Fairly enough Meles has accepted that there was a miscalculation and promised not to repeat such a mistake again. Translation: No more free and fair election unless the result can beyond any doubt be predicted to put them again in power. That is why even after a relentless campaigning for the last five years, boasting to have increased its members from one to four million, destroying the main opposition group, jailing Birtukan, using the newly introduced BPR (Business Process Reengineering) as a means of punishing alleged opposition sympathizers, Woyanes don’t have the nerve to face the verdict of the people in a free election.

Being undemocratic for TPLF isn’t only based on ideology but also on the clear advantage they are enjoying, at least for now. As we all know, TPLF, representing only 6% of the country’s population has an absolute control on the key positions that matter. What kind of democracy does allow such a minority to have enormous dominance in the politics and economy of the country? TPLF guys who always think in terms of group instead of as individual Ethiopians don’t see any incentive in creating a democratic system which provides fair distribution of power and resource. Because, in that kind of system people who think in a group and represent one of the smallest groups, in this case TPLF, know that there is no chance of having such an enormous influence. They also know that their dominance can’t go on forever and one day they will have to live with their minority status in the politics. Similar to white minority South Africans, who relinquished power for Black majority but still have a huge behind the scene influence through the near total control of the economy, TPLF intends to derail the democratic process in order to buy enough time to accumulate adequate economic power, which eventually will give them leverage over others.

Despite the fact that their own constitution demands proportionally fair representation for every section of the society the regime is determined on empowering the tiny section of the society. In an attempt to benefit this group apartheid like structure, which is based on ethnic identity and clearly discriminatory to majority of the population, is set up. This is the worst form of dictatorship. It is a dictatorship entirely based ethnic division and favoritism. It doesn’t only deprive the human and economic rights of its own citizens but threatens the coexistence of its people by exploiting any differences to meet its short-term ends.

TPLF, which has only about 40 seats (there are many who even say this is unfairly over representative) in the parliament of over 500 members, is determined to rule the country by dividing, force and using a scare tactic until they feel that their political and economic gains become irreversible. It is a regime which counts on destroying the social fabric of what makes us united Ethiopians in order to promote the dominance of one ethnic group. A divisive strategy which is based on exploiting every little difference among its own people is one of the methods at work in order to achieve their ultimate objective creating elite minority with an absolute control over all aspects of the country with particular emphasis on economy and the military. There is also a quiet but dangerous move to manipulate the educational system and the civil service in favor of the same group.

Economically TPLF through its business empire, EFFORT, has a significant presence in almost every strategically important sector of the economy. With the help of ECX (Ethiopian commodity exchange) it made a recent move towards coffee market, which was the only sector left uninfluenced. While millions are suffering from hunger every year TPLF’s capital is increasing exponentially. Recruitment policies of EFFORT are far more discriminatory than even foreign companies operating in Ethiopia. In addition, TPLF has created some oligarchs in the private sector, who are either ethnically related or loyal to them, and designed to take over what is left off EFFORT. Besides the extraordinary financing opportunities provided to them, the insider dealings in transferring the previously public owned companies is one of the examples of the unfair wealth transfers. If things continue like this it won’t be long before everything that matters in the economy falls under their absolute command.

Following the 2005’s rigged election TPLF has left been digging every possible hole to silence any dissenting views. The country has backpedalled on the very little democratic openings it had before the election. TPLF has built a force (national army, police and security apparatus) absolutely controlled by one ethnic group. Looking at the composition of the armed forces, especially higher command positions, one could wonder if this is TPLF or Ethiopian national army. This is a well documented fact and something no one has attempted to disprove it. The only response of TPLF for a well researched exposure of this truth by Ginbot 7 was an angry rant by Meles who reacted to an American diplomat’s accusation of ethnic discrimination in the military. (Have you noticed that when ever Meles is confronted with truth he loses his temper and the real him, the dictator, comes out)

The other strategy TPLF routinely uses to stay in power is fear mongering. Their typical line of argument is: “if we don’t stay in power, Ethiopia as a country would cease to exist.” Any challenge to the statuesque is equated with the disintegration of the country. Contrary to their flawed propaganda I believe that the longer TPLF stays in power the more dangerous it is for the existence of the country. These people, only driven by short-term profiting (politically and economically), are leading the country to an irreversibly dangerous direction. They are working hard to shape our mind set to be framed along ethnic line. This has been demonstrated in many ways. It is not surprising to find Ethiopian higher education students unable to communicate each other using their official language, Amharic, resorting to English. Woyanes are hell bent on magnifying local identities more than the commonly shared national identity. For instance, in a cynical attempt of killing their Ethiopian feeling students are forced to sing regional anthem instead of Ethiopian national anthem.

Playing into the same ethnic game so many, nearly 80, of the so called opposition parties are formed along ethnic lines. This is something Woyane desperately wants and the only way that it can stay in power. The failed experience of ethnic political parties in the last two decades and the near successful attempt by national parties in 2005’s election to unseat the incumbent should be a good lesson. Let alone so many of the minority parties with varying interests, experience has shown that those who claim to represent and have the support of the biggest ethnic groups didn’t succeed.

Even though the political space is narrowing more than ever and the chances of peaceful struggle are becoming next to none ethnicist Woyanes can only be challenged by multiethnic national parties.

If we keep on playing into their game we are undoubtedly allowing ethnic dictators to repress us and exploit our resources indefinitely. It is time to work together based on the commonly shared values. Our little differences should not make us deficient. Hoping that ethnic dictators will some how allow free election and democratic transformation is a wishful thinking. With the possibilities of fair and free election nearing a dead end we need to rally behind those who braved to face the ethnic dictators. Woyane’s brutal repression and discrimination justifies our quest for freedom by all means available and necessary.

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