Down, Down, Woyane!
19 December 2017
“Down, Down, Woyane!” is becoming the popular national slogan in the struggle against the incumbent government of TPLF/EPRDF as it is being widely used by protestors in the south as well as in the north of Ethiopia.
In the past two weeks goring stories of students killed in university campuses in Tigray and wolega on ethnic lines and of innocent farmers being shot by Federal soldiers in Chelenko have emerged from Ethiopia. These follow months of inter-racial eviction and killings especially in the Somali and Oromiya regions. Federal and regional government soldiers were responsible for much of the killings. Such levels of apathy have never existed in Ethiopian history between students as well as ethnic groups.
Last week’s massacre at Chelenko of 15 farmers by Federal security forces and the killing of 60 Somalis two days ago in Western Harerge was orchestrated by the usual suspect, the TPLF/EPRDF government. In Chalenko the Federal troops unleashed a torrent of bullets on the unarmed and innocent people which included a family of five who did not in any way resist arrest by the Federal troops. This is very sad and alarming as it seems we are heading in slow motion towards a civil war. Such brazen and senseless measures are routinely taken by government troops in many parts of the country north and south including at least five of the regional states. These measures are clearly in line with the hidden agenda of the TPLF led government not only to crack down opposition and descent to its brutal rule but to keep the people divided and tear each other apart.
TPLF/EPRDF Machiavellian tactics had worked in the early days of the dictatorial rule in dividing the opposition and holding the Tigrian people hostage to their wishes. But especially since the Oromo uprising, two years ago, and the subsequent uprising of the Amhara in Gonder and Gojam, things haven’t been the same for the government. The gradual but real alliance building up between the Oromo people and the Amhara people became a persistent threat to the government to the extent that it declared Marshall Law on the entire country. The Federal system based on ethnic lines is not working. Confused by the escalating protests the government promised to “deeply review” its party policies and overcome the obstacles to good governance. But, nothing significant came out of it. The calm achieved through the enforcement of the Marshall Law gave in to a storm of protests after it was lifted. This is not surprising as the people’s basic question of real democratic governance has never received a real response. Instead the government resorted to violent repression.
The 26 years of TPLF/EPRDF rule started with a deceptive democratic agenda of ethnic equality and development and gradually descended to an outright dictatorial rule upheld by systematic racism manifested by flagrant killings and widespread arrests. The people of Gambella, the Amhara and the Oromo and others have suffered so much under an ethnic tyranny for so long. Especially the Amhara people have received the brunt of the racist agenda of the government since the coming to power of TPLF. Latest abuses included the violent killings and eviction of Amhara people in Illubabor and an incident in Benishangul where over 50 Amhara people were massacred by Benishangul regional troops who have the backing of the government.
Xenophobic and racist propaganda are discreetly and sometimes openly encouraged by government associated bodies both at Federal and regional levels resulting in bloody conflicts (e.g. the conflict between people in the Somali and the Oromia Regional States.) People like Sebhat Nega, the Godfather of TPLF, openly insults and tries to undermine targeted ethnic groups as part of the TPLF strategy to weaken the unity between the people of Ethiopia. We believe that such evil intentions of creating a gap between the people of Tigray and other people of Ethiopia will drastically fail and will have a backlash that will eventually see them behind bars..
It is everybody’s guess that TPLF/EPRDF’s destructiveness and negative attitude towards reconciliation is leading the country into outright ethnic division and violence all over the country that will result in the breakdown of central government and the drifting of the country into becoming another Syria, Yemen or Libya. This is the nightmare we do not want to see. This is unacceptable! The people of Ethiopia want unity, peace and stability. So what is to be done?
As we have several times in the past suggested, there is no other solution other than an open dialogue between all opposition groups and the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian government has to take the initiative for dialogue. That should lead to a transitional government inclusive of all sides for unity and transition. A follow- up of reconciliation between all aggrieved sides is necessary for stability and continuity.
The EPRDF is holding a “make or break” meeting on national matters at the present moment. We call upon its party members to search their souls and make the right decisions with the best interest of the people of Ethiopia at heart. Take head of the warning signs of civil war, there are abundant lessons to be learnt from the wars still raging in the Middle East and our neighbours in Africa. As the saying goes, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Despite the murky history of EPRDF sincere reconciliation can be achieved.
Let us live for the future where government decision making is guided by hope and not fear.
We call upon opposition groups too, to unite under common grounds beyond having the intention to fight and bring about the fall of the incumbent government. We should come up with clear agenda on having our country continue as a united sovereign country based on Ethiopianism and democratic values. We should be ready with an agreement on a common programme of transition and reconciliation that would include the incumbent government. Retribution by way of revenge is toxic and we shall fight against such tendencies. We acknowledge that there is no animosity between ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Hostility exists only between political groups and the elite from different ethnic groups as well as national parties. These would sort themselves out with an initiative that is genuinely seeking a solution.
We vow to continue the struggle against the incumbent government and pressurize it until it agrees to a genuine round table talk or is removed from government.
Down, Down, Woyane!
The struggle Continues!
Long Live the People of Ethiopia!