The Unseen, Brutal Power of TPLF
|To govern a country and keep order to ensure peace and stability for the people of the given country or state, there must be different legal systems which are transparent and accountable for the benefit of the people. All these institutions must be legalized and made known to the people according to the constitution of the country. The duties and responsibilities of these institutions should be published and made accessible to the people through different channels including the media – whether state-owned or private – such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines as much as and as soon as possible so that the governed people can know the task of each government body.|
To make clear the institutions which are important for the government to ensure the security of the people i.e. internal stability and national sovereignty, the following bodies and state agencies must be established and continually strengthened:-
“¢ National Defence Force
“¢ Professional Police Force
“¢ National Security (Intelligence) Force
In this century everyone knows that any government (whether democratic or undemocratic) has these forces and their duties and responsibilities must be clearly stated in the constitution.
The main tasks of each are:-
“¢ National Defence Force – to defend the national sovereignty from external invasion or aggression.
“¢ Professional Police Force – to prevent crime and unlawful actions.
“¢ National Security (Intelligence) Force – to secure internal and external national security i.e. to prevent spying or government attacks, internally or externally.
All the above forces are essential to any government and nationally or internationally, a government is allowed to have such national forces to safeguard the nation against internal and external enemies.
But equally critical for their proper functioning, all these armed and paramilitary forces must be free from any kind of political party or pressure groups. In each force the officers, from the highest ranked to the lowest, must be loyal and remain accountable to the people. They must listen to the voice of the people. When the people suffer due to poor governance, these officers must be sensitive enough to feel and suffer with the people. When the people become happy, they in turn become happy too and enjoy with the people who pay their salaries. They must ensure that they are a part of the people and at the same time they are the servants of the people.
The cadres of citizens recruited into these uniformed services must be well trained and conscious enough to understand the national and global affairs at least in their own profession.
They should not represent any particular ethnic group and must be free from any kind of animosity or harbour any deep hatred, race, colour, religion and political ambitions. This is the general feature of these forces under a free and democratic society.
When we observe the TPLF structure of these forces what will come through will be a different and deliberately conspired, unseen but brutal system which has been structured to intimidate anyone regarded to be unsympathetic to the TPLF course.
Members of the coalition committee.
This coalition committee is not known by the people and civil government ministries such as, Ministry of Education, Health, Agriculture, Finance and so on. The ministers of the ruling TPLF/EPRDF members neither participate in the meetings of these coalition committees nor know what has been discussed unless they are from the armed forces and the masterminds of the TPLF/EPRDF political affairs and its general activities.
To get an idea of just how the TPLF has kept the Ethiopian populace under continued subjugation, it is important to understand the structure it has put in place in the name of governance.
The top brains who mastermind the activities of the secretive Coalition Committee comprise:-
“¢ The Prime Minister – Tigre
“¢ The Minister of Defence (Chief of staff ) -Tigre
“¢ The Commander of Police – Tigre
“¢ The Head of National Intelligence – Tigre
“¢ The Commander of Special Police Force – Tigre
“¢ TPLF political wing – Tigre
Note: the common denominator in terms of ethnicity.
Member offices of this sub-committee whose personnel are charged with executing orders decreed by the Coalition Committee are:-
“¢ EPRDF/TPLF political department
“¢ The so-called National Intelligence Office
“¢ The so-called National Defence Force
“¢ The so-called Police Force
“¢ Special Police Force i.e. independent of the regular police force and the most loyal one to the rulers compared with the regular police force.
“¢ The so-called Civil Administration
The criteria to become a member of the coalition’s sub-committee.
Persons who are supposed to be the members of this committee should be.-
“¢ Most secretive.
“¢ Loyal to the ruling clique.
“¢ They should be opportunists to be controlled by their personal needs.
“¢ They must be poor in academics and lack other professional skills.
“¢ They must be narrow-minded, lip-service nationalists with inferiority complex.
The structure of the coalition committee.
The structure of this committee is from the council of ministers to the local (kebele).
That is: -
“¢ The coalition committee of central government. The chairman is Ato Meles Zenawi.
“¢ The coalition committee of the regional (federal) government. The chairman is the head of TPLF/EPRDF political affairs of the federal state.
“¢ The coalition committee of the zone. The chairman is the TPLF/EPRDF political head or sometimes the head of National Intelligence.
“¢ The coalition committee of the district or woreda. The chairman is the political head of the TPLF/EPRDF or the head of intelligence.
“¢ The coalition committee of the kebele. The chairman is the head of political affairs of the TPLF/EPRDF or sometimes the chairman of the kebele.
Depending on this structure each member of the coalition committee has a duty to exchange information from kebele upwards on a 24-hour basis. It does not matter whether the information is false, reasonable or not. All the informer is after, is to satisfy their master and to get their salary – not a difficult mission in a country where the poverty level is high.
The impact of these frequently relayed information based on rumours and half truths is unbelievable killings, kidnappings, harassments and warning to the lucky ones. In most of the instances their “crime” will revolve around their nationality or ethnic origin, political background and social and economic activities.
The role and objectives of the coalition committee.
“¢ To spy on innocent people without basic principles of information gathering, mostly based on personal conflicts.
“¢ To harass individuals suspected to be members or supporters of opposition parties and groups which are active and passive resistances.
“¢ To infiltrate the opposition political organizations and/or neutralize the same members of the opposition and if possible convert such a supporter or member into the ruling TPLF/EPRDF by using a lot of money.
“¢ To intimidate famous intellectuals, active businessmen that they must contribute money towards the TPLF/EPRDF sponsored the so-called development associations and not to support the opposition.
“¢ To facilitate the way or the system of TPLF’S/EPRDF’s divide and rule system of governance.
“¢ To kidnap and eliminate prominent and dedicated politicians.
“¢ To recruit and plant their own agents, for example, in trade unions, professional associations, in different activities of social sections such as schools, teachers associations, universities and other institutions.
“¢ To weaken and kill the private media through kidnapping and intimidating journalists.
“¢ To control the economic sector of the whole country.
The immediate motive of the committee/tactics according to TPLF/EPRDF Dream.
Even the least informed of Ethiopians know that TPLF/EPRDF has its own agenda from its birth in 1974, that is, to develop and prosper one province Tigray by looting material from the rest of the country and manipulating human resources. To achieve this, TPLF/EPRDF established a type of network to confuse Ethiopians and the international community in a sea of confusion. The masterminds conspire how to create tension amongst different Ethiopian nations and nationalities so that these nations and nationalities do not get time and think about what the TPLF has been doing against Ethiopia’s interest and how to promote the TPLF’s interest in all fields such as economic, politics, social and cultural promotions.
The long term motive of the committee/strategy according to TPLF/EPRDF Dream.
The long term objective of TPLF/EPRDF leading committee is to facilitate TPLF for the regional power in politics, economy and militarily (to be found geo-political influential of the Horn of Africa) and to sow the hostility between Ethiopian people and then to create permanent conflicts among Ethiopians themselves and between them and the neighbouring countries.
The conspiracy of TPLF not to licence independant private media (Radio & TV) through coalition committee
Part Two of the TPLF-drafted and adopted constitution of 1994 titled “Democratic Rights”, Article 29 headed Rights of Thought, Opinion and _Expression, states:
1. Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression without any interference. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through media of his choice.
3. Freedom of press and other mass media and freedom of artistic creativity is guaranteed. Freedom of the press shall specifically include the following elements:
(a) prohibition of any form of censorship.
(b) Access to information of public interest
In the interest of free flow of information, ideas and opinions which are essential to the functioning of democratic order, the press shall, as an institution, enjoy legal protection to ensure its operationally independent and its capacity to entertain diverse opinions.
Any media financed by or under the control of the state shall be operated in a manner ensuring its capacity to entertain diversity in the_expression of opinion.
But in another clever ploy, the TPLF have allowed private newspapers to be published and distributed only in the Ethiopian capital, that is, Addis Ababa where foreign ambassadors and diplomats reside. This is meant to deceive the international community and to be seen to be dedicated to democracy. Clear evidence of this deceitful nature is the repeated harassment and detention of the publishers of these private newspapers. Unknown to the diplomatic community resident and mostly operating in Addis Ababa and its immediate environs, these private newspapers are not distributed elsewhere in the country. Indeed to be seen with a copy of any of these newspapers miles from Addis Ababa is to invite questioning and possible action by members of the TPLF coalition committee.
Why would a ruling clique be wary of a greater media reach by private enterprises?
This is because more than 85% of the population are in the country’s rural area and do not have the freedom of finding out what is going on in the country’s political, economic and social activities. This is the population that the TPLF has promised to give all round development and better standards of living. Needless to add, the promise remains in vain.
Because of this reason, the TPLF must use this deliberately structured coalition committee to play an important role to:
“¢ Identification of serious and critical private newspapers
“¢ Identification of critical publishers and their reporters
“¢ Writers and readers, especially the places outside Addis Ababa. If one is found with these newspapers they are harassed and taken to custody.
Why then has the TPLF put this article in its constitution and has not issued permits for those seeking to have independant private radio and television stations, some of them for as many as 12 years? This is because if private TV and radio stations are allowed, it will be tantamount to political suicide for the TPLF. The views of prominent oppositions will be broadcast all over the country and it would not be long before the TPLF be exposed to the 85% rural population.
Most Ethiopians are not able to read but they are alert and keen to listen especially to radio which presently is their only source of information – albeit TPLF propaganda. It is only the TPLF that has the government radio and the only TV channel.
Against this background, isn’t it a big joke to talk about democracy, freedom of expression and opinion in the absence of the means through which to express divergent views?
The Role of the Coalition Committee during Election Period.
According to the TPLF drafted and adopted Constitution in 1994, Chapter 6 on Federal Houses, Article 54 titled Members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives:
7. Members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives shall be elected by the people for a term of five years on the basis of universal suffrage and by direct, free and fair elections held by secret ballot.
Members of the House are representatives of the Ethiopian people as a Whole.
They are governed by:
(a) The Constitution;
(b) The will of the people; and
(c) Their conscience.
Of the above, nothing is further from common sense than the last expectation from the cadre of the so-called peoples’ representatives elected under the TPLF. Despite being surrounded by evidence of injustice, slanted development and many other self-inflicted social ills, these representatives do not seem troubled by their conscience and have been reduced to mere rubber stamps for policies geared to benefit one part of the country – this again being contradictory to (b) above.
Everyone says the election must be free and fair and I believe so but the question is how?
It is very clear that TPLF is a minority ethnic group, that is drawn from a population of about 3 (three) million people from Ethiopia’s total population of 70 million. Oromo, Amhara and Ogaden are the first three majorities in the country. When one sees the members of this Coalition Committee and executive power members it is TPLF that occupies the political, economic, administrative powers, diplomatic powers and military powers.
It has been stretching from Central to local (Kebele) from urban to rural. When we come to the urban dwellers, the majority are employees of the government. The employer is TPLF ruling government. The companies, all economic and social sectors have been controlled by TPLF. The urban dwellers are under TPLF leadership and they are or must be expected to be loyal to the ruling TPLF with the whole family. When it comes to politics, no one is allowed to be active opposition and maintain his job working in the government office. This way the TPLF is able to monitor the activities of men folk. But to ensure that they have control over the whole family, the urban dwellers are further organized in two other categories:
“¢ Women Association
“¢ Youth Association
These two groups are controlled by TPLF affiliated appointees from Kebele upwards. The main purpose is to make it easy to reach them as fast as possible mostly to propagate TPLF agenda and influence their voting pattern in favour of TPLF. This is easily achieved through propaganda of job opportunities as a majority of both the youth and the women are unemployed.
This structure helps TPLF to access the active opposition members and start to intimidate them with their families, wives, children. In many instances some religious leaders within the Kebele or close friends are sent to active or aspiring political leaders to dissuade them from these ambitions or ask them to resign completely from the political game.
These active members of opposition will be told to stop if they are not willing they will be fired from their jobs or other illegal action will be taken against these candidates and they are told point blank they are the ones to take the responsibility. The intimidation continues at the place of residence and wherever TPLF members think better.
In rural areas it is very simple for TPLF to tell the people to give their votes to TPLF if they want their farmland. As everyone knows more than 85% of the Ethiopian people depend on land and this land is now the property of TPLF.
During the election period TPLF cadres are deployed to tell the peasants to support TPLF and TPLF toys like the Oromo political organization OPDO the so-called representative of the first majority of Ethiopian population; Amhara political movement ANDM the so-called the representative of the second majority of Ethiopian people. This movement ANDM is the first born of TPLF and gave the Wolkait Tegede and Humera of Gonder Rayana Kobo and other fertile land of Wollo to TPLF.
If the farmer along with his family do not want to give his vote to TPLF leading group, he will be deprived of his land and taken to prison. It is a ploy that has worked very well because TPLF knows that peasants do not have any option rather than their land. Their land is the only option to survive.
All members of the coalition committee are armed even the civilian administration group is armed during election period. A very intimidating scenario during an election.
“¢ ANDM is the first born of TPLF
“¢ OPDO is the second born of TPLF, The family name EPRDF
“¢ SEDF is the third born of TPLF
On this TPLF aims to get vote from Oromo people through OPDO, from Amhara people through ANDM, from Southern Ethiopia people through SEDF and Tigray is its own property.
Refer to (TPLF’s so-called Ethiopian Regional States).
From the setup above, it can be seen how the TPLF has worked out its grassroots structure to suposedly ensure successive victories in the election. The TPLF presence is felt everywhere not only in election time but in all circumstances of everyday life, especially for the ordinary Ethiopian.
During the election period in addition to the coalition committee, a new temporary committee is formed by the name of electoral committee. This committee is structured from location (kebele) to the region, that is, kebele electoral committee, district electoral committee, zone electoral committee and region electoral committee. The surprise element in the formation of these committees is not their actual roles but what is surprising is that all the members of these newly formed committees should be active and deceptive members of TPLF leading EPRDF. This committee is given a seminar by the ruling party’s electoral board before the election time. The seminar targets to portray an image of a democratic electoral process but in actual fact the aim is how to deceive the Ethiopian people, democratic governments and the international community in general. Opposition and independent candidates are free to lodge any complaints with the electoral board but in practice, the electoral board has already been instructed how to handle such complaints. The board pretends to take action but in actual fact ignores these complaints as soon as they are filed by the opposition and independent candidates. During the entire election period, the ruling clique will take any opportunity to tell everyone that the electoral committee is independent and free of any political influence.
The Role of Members of the Coalition Committee Under TPLF Leadership.
“¢ The so-called Ethiopian defense force
It has been explained the legal duty and responsibility of the national defense force but, under the TPLF leadership, the defense force is defending the palace and the chair of the tyrant leaders of the group and ruling the law by their automatic weapons. The so-called regular armed force has different tasks to violate the constitution and other ordinary laws. Examples, the armed force moves in different places such as the capital city Addis Ababa and in the regional major towns to kill and harass the civilians, women and children and students in addition to the special police force and the regular police force. They are not bound by the constitution and other laws, but they are bound by the force and weapons.
In general it is the instrument of the wicked TPLF group.
N.B This directly concerns the leaders of the National Army.
“¢ National security force under TPLF leadership
It is not to protect the national interest and national security, but to keep and guard the individual’s interest with their chair and elongate the subversive regime of TPLF. It is the eyes and ears of the same TPLF leaders. And to spy the innocent people, workers, trade unions, teacher, and students in different levels for the benefit of their masters and to impose bitter burdens on Ethiopian people.
“¢ Special police force
The force is composed of personnel from the army, intelligence and regular police who are selected based on their loyalty to the ruling regime primarily to monitor any movement they perceive to be against or opposed to the TPLF/EPRDF and they are allowed to take any measure that they think best serves and protests the interests of the ruling group. Most members of this force have little regard for human rights and legal acts. If some of the members of this special force decline to take action when expected, the lucky ones are dismissed from their job but those unfortunate end up in detention. This Gestapo-style of keeping everyone fearful is equally true for the defence force and other security agencies.
“¢ The role of the civil administration under TPLF/EPRDF regime
The structure of the civil administration under this regime is from kebele to the central government. The most visible roles of the current civil administration are mainly:-
“¢ To facilitate the needs of the TPLF/EPRDF officials, for example, housing.
“¢ To collect taxes from the people and the business community in an illegal and unjust way.
They study who is the active businessman or woman in their kebele, district zone and region that is not loyal to the TPLF and conspire to takeover the business, enterprise or company; shop or even a kiosk. Once they have hatched such a conspiracy, the TPLF agents impose an arbitrary rent increase on the business premises or levy additional taxes sometimes more than double the original sum so that business person will fail in his/her business. In some cases the targeted business person is hauled to a TPLF/EPRDF camp as a way of intimidating them to give up the business.
“¢ To declare the TPLF/EPRDF policy and impose confused economic policies and to loot the properties of innocent people through declarations.
“¢ To prohibit the right to free movement and engagement in economic activities in any parts of the region.
“¢ Dismissal from jobs, denial and revocation of trading licences, actions meant to benefit or favour TPLF-owned businesses.
“¢ Illegal appropriation of farmers’ produce at low price.
“¢ Tax exemption to regime loyalists and TPLF-owned businesses.
“¢ Railroading the business competition to put an end to their business activities and more.
Let me cite one application of a declaration. In 1997 the Addis Ababa city administrative region implemented a declaration which was planned by TPLF/EPRDF executive committee. It was executed by city president Ato Teffera Walwa and Ato Negussie Asgalitew, the secretary of economic affairs of the city who by the time of compiling this work had fallen out of favour and been discarded by the TPLF as have many other people who thought they stood to gain by acquiescing to TPLF policies.
The declaration involved privately-owned business concerns. The offices or business organizations from buildings to small shops, government houses, which were nationalized during previous Derg regime. People who rented these houses from the government and had the housed licenced in their names, rented out these houses to third party in accordance with the Ethiopian civil law and with a defined agreement. But the declaration dismissed the law and agreement and took over all these business organizations as well as the license. The city administrators then rented these houses hiking the rent by more than half of the previous amount and gave them to TPLF supporters and contributors. But as the rent was high, the TPLF supporters were advised to appeal to TPLF to reduce the rent and this was done. By this Addis Ababa city’s declaration several businessmen with their whole families became victims of the economic sabotage of TPLF/EPRDF regime. It is a typical example of driving one citizen to poverty at the expense of raising the economic status on another undeserving citizen.
During the implementation of this unlawful declaration the businessmen were trying not to give in and not to be looted their properties and licenses without any legal procedures and compensations but the rulers forced them out and looted their property by means of the Gun Rules the Law. This is yet again in blatant violation of Article 17 (1) and (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see appendix). And how contradictory could it be constitutionally?
It is another clever way of deceiving the international community, donor agencies and everyone else. The very first section of Article 40 Chapter Three of the constitution states:
“Every Ethiopian citizen has the right to ownership of property. Unless prescribed otherwise by law on account of public interest, this right shall include the right to acquire, to use and, in a manner compatible with the rights of other citizens, to dispose of such property by sale or bequest or to transfer it otherwise.”
Violation of Economic Rights Under TPLF Regime.
Everyone knows that for a gun to serve as a gun it needs ammunition. Knowing this, TPLF leaders continue their economic sabotage to feed their guns, a policy that has over the years triggered the violation of economic rights of other Ethiopians.
As made evident in the preceding topics, the final goal of the TPLF is to make Tigray Province powerful in all the fields and possibly become an economic hub in the Horn of Africa. Towards this goal different operational institutions have been established by TPLF. This chapter will elaborate the way in which TPLF established different associations, organizations enterprises, banks and insurance companies to control all activities of the economic sector of the country.
It is very clear that TPLF had been standing to illiminate the sentiment of Ethiopians by denying their political rights. The odd nature of TPLF is that it had been striving to bring the superiority of one ethnic group and all rounded struggle to implement and impose this like apartheid system on Ethiopians.
The motto of TPLF is “What is ours is ours! What is yours is negotiable.” Depending on this motto they took their Tigray as number one region as their own and then they took the rest of the country even without negotiations – not that there should be any negotiations anyway!
The GREATER TIGRAY and TPLF’S DREAM.
TPLF had been performing its homework to realize Tigray’s superiority and turn the region into a super power of the Horn of Africa. In the last 14 years, Tigray has become the center of huge industries that range from engineering plants and drug manufacturing to cement and textile factories. These include Afincolour Textile Factory and Mekele Mosob Factory, cement factory and Mesfin Engineering, Adigrt of Addis drug factory are some examples.
In the field of mining, agriculture and commerce a lot of money has been invested in Tigray. Shoa Emnebend, Mibuot Agricultural, Mekonization and Sun Construction Company, Trans EthiopiaTransport, Wogugen Bank, Africa Insurance operating all over the country as the economic source and power of TPLF.
In the field of electricity, water supply, health, education, road and dam construction etc, TPLF has been trying to do its best in any avenue to realize its dream about Tigray.
Federal states, regional state humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations, investors inside the country and out of the country were being propagated and presided by TPLF officials to enhance Tigray’s development.
This TPLF’S Tigray development strategy has long term and short term objectives and well-studied strategy. It is being implemented carefully.
Nowadays TPLF has given more of their time for the development of manpower (human resource). This is to have well-qualified and skillful Tigrians and to put the cornerstone for dynamic economic development of Tigray.
TPLF strategists think that if they hold the economic power of the whole country they can control all activities of the entire Ethiopian people and create a huge number of opportunities intellectually which can be easily controlled and managed according to the will of TPLF ruling clique.
It has almost succeeded and other Ethiopian regions remain in economic crisis and continuous tribal conflicts whose origins may be lost to the local people but which properly analysed can be linked to the deliberate and well calculated disproportionate distribution of national resources.
What does the Constitution say about the development of Ethiopia?
This is what Article 43 of the Constitution says:
The People of Ethiopia as a whole, and each Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia in particular have right to improved living standards and to sustainable development.
Nationals have the right to participate in national development and in particular, to be consulted with respect to policies and projects affecting their community.
All international agreements and relations concluded, established or conducted by the State shall protect and ensure Ethiopia’s right to sustainable development.
The basis aim of development activities shall be to enhance the capacity of citizens for development and to meet their basic needs.
The Main Sources of Tigray Development.
The development of Tigray has highly been encouraged and speeded-up by following institutions:-
“¢ Endowment Fund for Rehabilitation of Tigrai (EFFORT)
“¢ Tigray Development Association (TDA)
“¢ Relief Society of Tigrai (REST)
“¢ Dedebit Bank
“¢ Tigrai Regional State
“¢ The Federal Government
“¢ NGOs and individuals
“¢ Endowment Fund for Rehabilitation of Tigrai (EFFORT) is the leading and playing a major role in various sectors. This organization is tremendously involved in industry, mining, agriculture, transport, construction, real estate, financial sector, bank and insurance, consultancy, advocacy and printing. By and large it (EFFORT) is running huge companies. Among the basic objectives of this organization are creating opportunities for investment in Tigrai, concentrating their attention indirectly on Tigrai Regional State and by shifting the already allocated budget for different regional states to the Tigrai’s Regional State using their state power.
Moreover, resources have been grabbed constantly from other regional states to the Tigrai Regional State using state power. EFFORT has a big vision to enhance the development of “Great Tigrai” by robbing and the already gotten loan, which was taken in the name of Ethiopian people, directly being used in promoting Tigrai. The organization’s board of directors and executives are the key members of TPLF ( i.e. Central Committee and executives of TPLF). Nowadays this organization owns more than 20 huge companies, which at large, are worth about five billion Birr (a paid-in capital of more than five billion).
“¢ The second motor institution for the development of Tigrai is the Tigrai Development Association (TDA) . This organization has largely been participating in education, health, construction transport and communication, water and lighting etc. The organization strives to give the region priority. For the last ten years TDA has been alarmingly operating a very big infrastructure and diverting the development in one direction besides producing qualified human resource, however the said manpower have been wagging their tails for TPLF.
The organization has been given due responsibility to implement and to show dominancy as far as development and power is concerned.
“¢ The third one is Relief Society of Tigrai (REST). It has no direct connection with business and has been merely participating in relief activities and well known and experienced on it. It was founded by TPLF due to the famine, which occurred in 1984/85. By then, TPLF got recognition by the international community through REST. In addition REST was starting from Sudan and facilitating the way to create massive fleeing of Tigrai’s people to Sudan so as to expose the tyranny of the then regime as well as introducing the TPLF to the international community. The main objective of this organization is providing food and other materials for those who were affected by drought. The aid has been collected in the name of deprived Tigrai’s people. The distribution is undertaken both in rural and urban areas. At this time, this organizations working under the pretext of creating food for work program but those who are being helped in different direction are largely TPLF militants, henchmen, members and their families. Even though the already donated aid is not as adequate as for their contribution.
The association has opened infrastructures like irrigation system, transportation, aforrestation and community service buildings etc. At large the association has played a great role in these sectors. In some parts of developed countries, the association has opened offices in America and Europe so as to get in touch with worldwide donor organizations. However, the association is not controlled over by the Federal Danger Prevention and Preparedness Commission, instead even the association has the power to influence the Federal Commission to give priority to Tigrai Region. Conversely, in Tigrai Region, supply of the donation has been given for governmental loyalists and paid in advance.
“¢ The fourth one is the Dedebit Bank. The bank has been opened to serve farmers and residents of urban areas. The bank givens loan to poor people with a minimum interest. Moreover, it provides loan for self-help (self-sustenance) projects so as to give encouragement to enhance the development of the zone and saving culture. The bank has been founded by the following shareholders:-
“¢ Tigrai Regional State
“¢ Tigrai Youth and Women Association
The above mentioned associations are politically linked or conjugated to the TPLF.
“¢ The fifth one, the one which has brought a deep-rooted development vision for Tigrai is Tigrai Regional State. The Regional State has shown a very surprising development and dramatic change in infrastructure such as providing better education, health, pure water, transportation, electricity and communication. Nonetheless, all these have been funded not only by the governmental zone but also have been hugely backed by the Federal Government by allocation of special budget which is highly done based on political support. Apart from other regional states, the TRS (Tigrai Regional State) is not influenced and maneuvered in policy making and implementation of developmental policy and strategy, efficient use of budget besides, it inspires the people for development in order to lay basic reliable administration.
TRS is not limited to administrating the regional state or looking into the direction but also for the TRS dominancy on others economically and politically as well. Amazingly, it is the number one beneficiary. The future Tigrai Republic is primarily based under the responsibility of the present rulers of Tigrai Regional State.
“¢ The sixth one which speeds up Tigrai’s development through a ‘special back-up’ is the Federal Government. Astonishingly, the Federal Government has been a key for the development of Tigrai by doing basic infrastructures. However, all have been done by stealing from the rest of the country and from loans gotten from the international community Tigrai owns two international airports, wide coverage of electricity supply, one university and five standard colleges and many other institutions which have been fully funded by the Federal Government. Moreover by getting big sums of loans from the government’s commercial banks they have been building many factories. In order to enable the region with sustainable adequate electric power supply the Federal Government is building a multimillion hydro-electric project called “Tekeze Hydroelectric” in TRS. In addition, to facilitate the import/export trade to the region, they are on the way to construct a railroad which crosses the region to the Sudanese port called Port Sudan. In general, the Federal Government has been practicing bias and unfair allocation of resources by putting conditions which favours their hidden interests.
“¢The seventh one. Due to the substantial assistance given the TPLF and EPRDF regime many non-governmental organizations are currently working on different developmental activities. These NGOs are actively involved in road construction and improving health and educational facilities. These efforts have a clear impact on improving the lives of Tigrians.
To sum up Tigrians living in Ethiopia and abroad as well as Tigrians who live in different regions organize themselves and work day and night for the development of their region by;
“¢ The Regions infrastructures both on individual and group level.
“¢ Investing huge amounts of money
“¢ Financing self-help projects
“¢ Tigrians who are found in different government posts exercise their power to force NGOs and investors to invest their money in the region.
“¢ They use their power and influence to search for markets for those companies based in Tigray as a way to assist the development of the region.
The Financial Source OF Tigrai Development.
Within the last Fourteen years, the Tigrai Regional State has developed at an alarming pace in sharp contrast to the rest of the country. Could it be really have happened with only the effort of the regional state or perhaps there is something behind the curtain? To have a critical and logical reason let us examine the financial sources of each and every development agencies in the region.
“¢ ENDOWMENT FUND FOR THE REHABILITATION OF TIGRAI (EFFORT)
The ruling TPLF has an outfit called EFFORT, formally a non-governmental charity organization, but in actual fact the coordinating center for the ruling front business empire.
“¢ TIGRAI DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (TDA)
The main financial services of TDA are from:-
“¢ The obligation imposed on local people to contribute
“¢ The Agency’s income generating activities
“¢ The Ethiopian people at large especially from investors and employees of good organizations.
“¢ The Ethiopians in Diaspora
“¢ NGOs and different governments
In general the main source of TDA’s Treasury is mainly from the Ethiopians at large especially from funds and donations collected on behalf of the nation. Contributions and aid as well as support from governments and philanthropic organizations. This attests that TDA is mainly subsidized directly or indirectly by the general public’s money and aid contributed for the public.
“¢ RELIEF SOCIETY OF TIGRAI (REST)
Financial, food, clothing and material source of REST are charitable donors and governments. In 1994/95 , REST had happened to come across with opportunities of collaborating and working closely with donor charitable organization and governments in combating starvation following draught . This event has boosted REST even more popularity capability than FGAC.
“¢ DEDEBIT BANK
The initial source of income for this Bank ,are TRG ,Tigrian Youth Association, and Tigrian Women Association.The fact that there sources are not worth capable persistently fund this Bank as they have little access to raise funds within Tigrai, indicates that Dedebit Bank relies on the general public’s financial resources. Furthermore, though these associations seem to have founded with different, all the integral part of TPLF.
“¢ TIGRAY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT (TRG)
Collects limited amount of taxes locally (within Tigray Region). Therefore, its regular and capital expenditures (expenses) are financed from the federal government budget. Pursuant to the domination and manipulation of TPLF in the federal government, as a master political machinery, the distribution of annual federal budget peculiarly favours Tigray Region, discriminating against others. TPLF normally applies such unfair distribution of budget, professional manpower and projects to promote and benefit TR in a special manner.
“¢ THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The source of income for the Federal Government is obviously, the general public fund and donations and loans for the nation (whole nation). But, as aforesaid, the federal government’s institutions and offices are operated and maneuvered by TPLF cadre appointees so in all developmental projects and research programs, the Tigray Region is well treated and prioritized. Hence, the total amount of funds allocated by the federal government to Tigray Region is incomparable with other discriminated regions and sometimes appears embarrassing. Such system of daylight robbery reveals how the TPLF is immoral and irresponsible.
“¢ HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS
Even though the financial income of humanitarian organizations is not from the Ethiopian people, it is brought to improve the lives and enhance the development of the Ethiopian people but TPLF directly or indirectly influences and provides it to Tigrai by using its power.
“¢ TIGRIONS INDIGENOUS
TPLF had been propagating and providing Tigrai indigenous inside and outside of the country to contribute money for only Tigrai Region in different avenues.
To cite only a few of what the TPLF owns:
“¢ Wogage Bank (with EFFORT as the major shareholder)
“¢ Dedebit Credit and Savings (with REST as its major shareholder)
“¢ Addis Consultancy
“¢ Addis Engineering Consultancy (EFFORT being the major shareholder)
“¢ Addis Pharmaceutical Production (with EFFORT as the major shareholder)
“¢ Africa Insurance S.C.
“¢ Almeda Textile Manufacturing S.C
“¢ Hiwot Agricultral Mechanization S.C
“¢ Meskerem Investment S.C.
“¢ Tesfa Livestock S.C.
“¢ Behane Building Construction PLC
“¢ Beruh Chemical S.C.
“¢ Dasalegn Veterinary Drug & Inputs Supply PLC
“¢ Dilot Brewery PLC
“¢ Experience Ethiopia Travel PLC
“¢ Express Transit Service Enterprise PLC
“¢ Ezana Mining Development PLC
“¢ Fana Democracy Publishing PLC
“¢ Global Auto and Spaceports Sales Company
“¢ Guna Trading House (and Guna Construction and Guna Distribution)
“¢ Hi-tech Park PLC S.C.3
“¢ Mega-Net Corporation with
1 Mega Creative Arts Centre
2 Mega Distribution Enterprise
3 Mega Studio Enterprise
4 Mega Printing Enterprise
5 Mega Transit Service
6 Kuraz Publishing Agency
7 Fana Radio
8 Shala Advertising Enterprise
“¢ Mesfin Industrial Engineering S.C.
“¢ Rahwa Sheep and Goat Export S.C.
“¢ Segem Construction S.C.
“¢ Selam Bus Line S.C.
“¢ Sheba Tannery Factory S.C
“¢ Star Pharmaceutical and Medical Supply S.C.
“¢ Sur Construction S.C
“¢ Mesobo Building Materials Production S.C.
“¢ Trans-Ethiopia S.C.
“¢ Abrehet Mechanization
“¢ Savings and Loans Investment
“¢ Global Trading
“¢ Brana Printing
“¢ Awash Construction
“¢ Lalibela Construction
“¢ Satco Construction
“¢ Abeba Trading
“¢ Latwan Company
“¢ Ambosel Trading Works Organization
“¢ Tikut Abay Transport
“¢ Africa Thransport Company
“¢ Zeleke Agriculture Mechanization
“¢ Doshin Brewery
“¢ Tiret Investment
“¢ Tigray Development Association *TDA
“¢ Relief and Rehabilitation for Tigray (REST)
What the TPLF has been trying to do is hold a false faÃ§ade to Ethiopians and the international community by giving some business organizations names of other Ethiopian communities who are the members of TPLF leading EPRDF.
The nominal ones are:
“¢ Amhara Development Association
“¢ Wolo Atona and Gum Investment
“¢ Loan investment office of Amhara region.
“¢ Dinsho Trading House
“¢ Dinsho Milk Production Organization.
“¢ Dinsho Loan Investment.
“¢ Wondo Trading Organization.
“¢ Wondo Loan Investment.
From these economic enterprises any one can understand how the ruling TPLF has controlled all economic sectors by violating the economic rights of the majority Ethiopian people.
The ruling clique is involved in the international market as a business organization by using its executive power in the government policy-making process.
Another clear example of lop-sided regional development can be seen in how the TPLF has tapped a natural resource of one region to directly benefit their home region Tigray. This is the hydroelectric power stations found in Wellega and Gojjam regions in the west of Ethiopia. While these areas remain without electric power, the TPLF found the resources to tap this energy over hundreds of miles to Tigray not only to help operate the many factories set up overnight but also as part of its rural electrification programme for one region.
Ethiopians in exile speak out.
A very great number of Ethiopians have been running out , leaving their beloved but long suffering country. Top scientists, university lecturers, university students, well trained, dedicated and experienced professionals are leaving the country. If one wants to make a research about Ethiopians in exile and in the Diaspora, he can find from street cleaner up to nuclear physics and space technology. Top university instructors and social scientists are found in different universities and research institutes. From Africa to the USA, Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Australia and all over the world.
These top and brainy sons and daughters of Ethiopia are always in a dream wishing to come back home but the gate is closed, the gun at the door spelling out the dire consequences of making such a decision. In the history of this once great country, no one could have foretold that a time would come when such a big number of people would keep emigrating. Political, economic and social refugees leaving the country through different borders to neighbouring states among them the Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea and even to Somalia which has had no stability since the ouster of President Siad Barre.
In a survey conducted by the author, a general pattern emerged in response to the identical questions put to different Ethiopians living in exile.
“¢ Why are more and more Ethiopians emigrating or seeking political asylum?
“¢ Are the reasons political, economic or prompted by social circumstances?
“¢ Of Ethiopians emigrating or seeking political asylum why is it the cream from the intellectuals, university, college, high school and other institutions of learning?
“¢ What is the future of Ethiopia given this brain drain?
“¢ What hardships, did most of these people experience as they sought to settle in a different country?
“¢ What hope do they have for Ethiopia’s future?
This is what formed the basis of the questions posed during the survey. The questions and a summary of the responses are reproduced below:
“¢ THE QUESTIONNAIRE
“¢ Why are many Ethiopians migrating?
(a) Because of political problems?
(b) Because of economic problems?
(c) Because of social problems?
Elaborate each, based on your experience.
“¢ Many students from the university, college, high school and other educational institutions and well known intellectuals as well as skilled and experienced professionals have been emigrating and requesting for political asylum.
(d) If unchecked what does this exodus portend for the future of Ethiopia?
(e) Do you see this as a brain drain? Share your knowledge and if you have a model country in mind share this with your readers.
“¢ Many leading and high ranking officials of the TPLF and members of parliament have also been leaving the country and defecting from the political establishment altogether. What do you read in this development?
“¢ From your personal experience, explain in brief how you arrived in the country from where you are now responding to this questionnaire.
From your new environment and in reflecting back, do you have new and progressive ideas that can contribute to finding a solution to the unfavourable status in Ethiopia?
(f) Political ideas
(g) Economic ideas
(h) Any more ideas outside these two areas
NB: In case part your response to this questionnaire is based on some books, please remember to attribute that comment to the source, that is, the author(s).
Thank you for taking the time to respond to this questionnaire.
“¢ RESPONSES TO THE QUESTIONAIRE
“¢ Response to Question 1:
The political environment determines nearly all other facets of a nation and its people. Once a country’s political environment has been spoiled, all aspects of the nation will deteriorate one after another, including economic and social environment. Today in Ethiopia, one’s right to practice democratic rights and enjoy human rights are repeatedly violated mainly because the ruling regime has chosen to practise ethnic democracy. Apart from the political problem, the basic problem which is driving many Ethiopians in to exile is the economy of the country. Many of our people are starving and dying in their own land. This does not mean in any way that the people migrating are living well in their new countries of residence whether this is in the industrialized world eg Canada, Europe. If there is peace, democracy and good governance people would not think about migration. Young people especially would not have good reasons for fleeing their country in droves and very few people in their mature age want to start a new life away from their home. There are no new job creations and even the existing job market is steadily declining. Very few people migrate due to social problems otherwise why do those holding high political offices in the ruling regime leave their country? It is because of lack of political freedoms to speak, to assemble.
“¢ Response to Question 2:
If things keep going the way they have been over these past several decades, the country stands to lose everything. Indeed the very existence of Ethiopia as a proud nation with a historical legacy worth emulating is in jeopardy. The development of a country is largely dependent on its resources. Among these resources human resource is the most basic especially the educated and skilled group who form the core of element in the process of development of Ethiopia. The exodus of this cadre of human resource does not augur well for the development of Ethiopia. With the exception of very few developing countries, it is a brain drain no country can ill-afford. In the case of Ethiopia because this brain drain is taking place against many odds, one can not even speak of an economic spin off in terms of any hard currency sent back home to relatives or friends by those in exile.
“¢ Response to Question 3:
The people holding high government or political offices under TPLF who defect or end up quitting and leaving the country can be put in two categories: those who are disillusioned by the TPLF leadership and those who expected to personally benefit from identifying themselves with the TPLF. However, in either category these politicians and government officials do not do so because they have any sympathy for the suffering of the common man under TPLF leadership. They are essentially motivated by power and wealth and when they are unable to realize this, they go into exile. But the people of Ethiopia know better than to be deceived by such political exigency. For all practical purposes, unless such people denounce the government they once so loyally served, they remain part and parcel of that government wherever they are.
“¢ Response to Question 4:
It is intolerable conditions and a sense of hopelessness that drove many out of the country. And despite not knowing what lay ahead, for many of us, getting away would be a start. It was a difficult decision and the routes of getting out the country were even more difficult. Many lost relatives and friends along the way as people not using any map or conventional means of travel ended up victims of hunger and starvation, wild animals, bandits and other unexpected natural obstacles.
“¢ Response to Question 5:
The beginning point is for us all Ethiopians to have reconciliation. It would be a great start to have peace between us before we stand together for the united development of our country. We must abandon political parties that are based on ethnicity and instead embrace a political culture founded on sound ideology as long as such ideology is geared towards the development of the country and establishment of democratic institutions. Above all things, the role of individuals in power should be limited so that the abuse of power does not exist.
Economically, Ethiopia is blessed with natural resources and is also the source of the blue Nile which generates power and feeds the Sudan and Egypt – quite in contrast to the benefits that Ethiopians get from the same source. What the country needs is to develop the working culture of its citizens. The government should let individual investors to play a big role in the country’s economy. The government on its part should only provide an enabling environment and not be involved in the business sector. Ethiopians in the Diaspora have the potential to play a significant role in transforming our economy to a better stage. The government should take the initiative to invite Ethiopians in the Diaspora to be interested in the development of their country, not in words but in action.