EPRDF’s ethnic policy imperils the goal of AU By Robele Ababya

April 1st, 2013 Print Print Email Email

Unity of Ethiopia is paramount

The EPRDF regime is killing, arbitrarily arresting and encouraging ethnic cleansing; therefore an all-inclusive struggle in self-defense is morally and legally justified. The Amharas and Oromos are the main victims of such heinous crimes and must rely on their combined overwhelming majority and join other progressive democratic forces in order to dislodge the TPLF minority warlords from power and save Ethiopia from disintegration. In this regard, the call for justice, freedom and democracy is irresistible!

I would like to elaborate my point starting with the following Abraham Lincoln’s quote in August 22, 1862. I do so in order to stress the supreme importance of Ethiopian unity and territorial integrity under the umbrella of the African as the theme of this piece.

Quote My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause Unquote.

It is my understanding that the Great Statesman Abraham Lincoln gave top priority to saving the Union from the southern slave owner separatist States because their success in the American Civil War would have been worse for the slaves. The defeat of the separatists heralded the illegality of slavery although it took a long time and hard struggle for African Americans to earn their right to vote. There is still racial discrimination in the USA but a lot of progress has been made in securing their rights.

In view of the above I strongly believe that the unity of Ethiopia is paramount and must be secured at all costs so that all grievances including violation of human rights can be resolved.

The 9th EPRDF Congress

The gathering at Bar Dar was dull and pathetic in that no substantive change was made to the reckless policy of the late Tyrant Meles Zenawi. His design of replacing top cadres by lower cadres did not materialize. The Prime Minister made the ludicrous blame on the opposition forces for not making an iota of contribution to the developmental state. Is he right in making this shameful remark given that his party holds 99.6% of parliamentary seats by dint of stolen votes and heavily rigged election process by the ruling corrupt thugs?

One surprising drama was Azeb Mesfin’s non-procedural intervention to disclose how poor her late husband was supporting his family at a monthly salary of US$ 250 – according to her the only lowest paid leader on payroll in the world, which fact the US government knows it too. I mention this to highlight the kind of ignorant gang of thugs that have been ruling Ethiopia since 1991 with generous support of the Western donors. The mother of corruption Azeb has underestimated the intelligence of the international community and displayed her arrogant contempt to the Ethiopian people. She took the floor to speak on a matter outside the agenda in her desperate attempt to forestall accountability for her huge wealth, luxurious life-style and spending spree. She now stands as a credible witness of her own corrupt practices and abuse of power. Some say she must be mentally deranged to make such a self-damaging statement at the fake Congress of the illegitimate regime. The popular idiom “የጊዮረጊስን መገበሪያ የሰረቀ እድሜ ልኩን እንደ ለፈለፈ ይኖራል” (One that stole from offerings to Saint George lives talking about it unprovoked until death) that I heard on ESAT Radio is an apt description of Azeb’s worried state of mind scared of accountability for plundering state property. She stands tall among the illiterate thugs that have been ruling Ethiopia for more than 21 years.

Zenawi’s destructive policy

In general, the policy of the late tyrant Zenawi was disastrous and his betrayal of vital national interests qualifies him as a traitor unprecedented in the history of Ethiopia. His divisive ethnic policy inherited by the EPRDF will spread like bush fire across the African continent making it a fertile ground for neocolonialists, including communist China, to be locked in competition for its abundant resources to the detriment of its population. Ethnic cleansing has been going on for the last 21 years; the regime is hell-bent on pitting Muslims against Christians. The ethnic-based federal system of government, which is the brainchild of Zenawi, is proving to be a time bomb ready to explode unless checked in time. Tribalism is a cancer that must not be allowed to spread to the rest of African states. This process of contagious malaise of tribal feud leading to disintegration into unsustainable mini-states cannot be checked without the African states being involved to face the menace in unison.

At the time of this writing the disgusting news from Ethiopia is that ethnic cleansing is in full swing, the Amharas being the chief victim; the Oromos are victims of arbitrary arrest in a country whose citizens in larger prison because freedom of expression is completely denied by the brutal regime in tight control of all pillars of democracy. These two major ethnic groups were chief targets of Fascist Italy to exclude them out of political participation in Ethiopia; the TPLFites are doing the same thing. The reason for this exclusion policy is that the duo comprises two-thirds of the Ethiopian population and own overwhelmingly vast natural resources including fertile farm lands in a country acknowledged as one of the first areas in the world to develop agriculture in this order: Ethiopia, China, and Asia in about 3000 BC. Egypt borrowed it from Ethiopia.

Before the famine caused by drought in 1973 Ethiopian farmers took agriculture to a new height and the country earned the accolade of “bread-basket” of the Middle East. But this has been no longer the case for over the last 21 years due to gross mismanagement of fertile lands such as leasing them to foreigners at cheap price by evicting locals, which could produce better and export the surplus. In a nutshell, the TPLF surrogates of Graziani threw away to the gutter the spirit of self-reliance thus impoverishing the people of Ethiopia morally and materially.

What the repressive EPRDF regime is now doing is contrary to what the truly Pan Africanist advocate, President Yoweri Kagutta Museveni of Uganda, said 20 years or so ago. I heard His Excellency say that the present artificial boundaries between states were marked by colonial masters and that the ordinary people are ignoring those boundaries and cross over to the territories of neighboring states to do business and return to their homes. He added that it is the political leaders that complicate issues and retard the process of realizing the Unity of Africa. Indeed Uganda is a haven for refugees because of the foresight of the President and political maturity of Ugandans.

Ethiopians today are not able to move freely in their own country to do business; they have to stay within their tribal land prescribed by the TPLF/EPRDF regime like in the days of Apartheid in South Africa under the White rulers. This horrific plight of citizens is no longer bearable; the struggle for justice, freedom and democracy must continue until the convincing victory of 2005 by the opposition is reclaimed.

Appeal to the AU

In my open letter to Her Excellency the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) dated 07 February 2013 posted on Zehabesha website I wrote: -

“The young generation has lost trust in the AU Leadership for all the reasons stated in the foregoing paragraphs. Arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings of peaceful protesters, state-monopoly of all pillars of democracy, rampant corruption, high unemployment and wastage of money on security forces as in the case of Ethiopia as one of the worst examples have dashed the hope of young generation to live in a prosperous and democratic continent endowed with enormous natural resources. The scramble by external powers for these resources is too obvious to state. The pervasive influence of neo-colonialism is being felt, but leaders have not prepared our citizens to counter it. With all due respect, the fault lies with the AU Leadership for failing to promote democratic culture and expedite the advent of a strong collaborative union in the best interest of all the citizens of the AU member States.“ I implored Her Excellency to provide daring leadership to rectify the grave shortcomings of the AU.”

The EPRDF’s ethnic policy imperils the strategic goal of AU! This policy will ignite catastrophe unless the AU acts quickly to engage the EPRDF regime and persuade it to: reverse its ruinous and contagious ethnic policy; respect its constitution of non-interference with religious affairs; curtail the controversial land leasing to external investors; stop dislocation of citizens against their will; stop unfair criticism of home-based opposition political parties; revisit the Renaissance Dam project for the sake of obviating regional instability and environmental degradation. Above all the regime must respect its own constitution and lift all restrictions on freedom of expression.

I request that the Chairperson will extol and promote the Kenyan election and constitution as a model for Africa to emulate in the interest of standardization as much as possible as we move towards unity. The constitution defuses tribal pollution by requiring that a presidential candidate must garner 25% of the votes in at least 50% of the constituencies in order to be declared the winner.


So far the adage that “every nation gets the government it deserves” has proved to be true in Ethiopia. This is due to lack of unity among the elites in the opposition camp exacerbated by mushrooming political parties with tribal names. What a shame!

Kenya has emerged as a role model for Africa in view of its enviable successful election, proving that democracy works in Africa. Ancient Ethiopia lost the golden chance in the 2005 election because the TPLF regime stole votes in broad daylight in full view of the Western powers that continue to support the brutal regime. It is another shame that Stalinist thugs are keeping prominent political prisoners behind bars despite repeated calls by the international community for their unconditional release.

Finally I wish to appeal to the political parties, movements and civic organizations in the Diaspora to set their differences aside and act in unison to expedite the burial of the dying EPRDF regime by bolstering through giving all round support to home-based opposition forces including Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (MEDREK), All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP), Blue Party, et al.

The call for

  1. Oda Tulu
    | #1

    Thank you Robele. Abraham Lincoln was right in giving priority to save the Union first. We Ethiopians have to do the same to save our country, Ethiopia first and deal with our minor differences later as equals.

  2. Konjit Kassa
    | #2

    It is a timely analysis, well written in terms of the need for a common
    ground among the opposition parties instead of bickering on minor details.
    The TPLF dominated regime’s ethnic cleansing crimes must be exposed to the
    world. Oromo groups, Ogaden liberation fighters, Gambella groups and Moresh
    must work together on this humanitarian agenda to defeat TPLF.

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