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What is TPLF’s endgame?

TPLF End Game
TPLF military leaders during a recent meeting in Mekele (Photo : SM)
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By Addissu Admas

We are now nearing the year mark since the start of the war in Tigray. It appears that this most unnecessary and destructive war does not appear to be winding down soon. On the contrary, it seems destined to continue until the whole of Ethiopia is completely engulfed in it. 

Why such resolve to condemn one’s own Killil to perennial poverty and misery, and Ethiopia in a permanent state of unrest? If the TPLF truly believes that it will triumph and regain the enormous power it wielded over Ethiopia for 27 years, it must be because it is either profoundly delusional, or because it is moved by a profound malice to see Ethiopia collapse. That the TPLF was never, even remotely, accepted as a legitimate power by the vast majority of Ethiopians is not something that it was unware of. What it has done in initiating this war – and indeed it is responsible for starting this war – is to make Ethiopians more resolved than ever to fight it to the death. It may have scored a win here and there, it may have boldly penetrated deep into other Killils, it may have terrorized large swath of innocent citizens to flee to other regions. Most of all, it may have won the support of Western politicians and media. However, what it has exacerbated to the extreme is the enmity of the Ethiopians and their determination to see it completely excised from Ethiopia’s body politic.  

The initials “TPLF” stand for “Tigray People’s Liberation Front”. Now that the TPLF has for all practical purposes “liberated” Tigray, what business does it have sending waves after waves of poor, ill-trained, ill-equipped Tigrean youth to slaughter poor innocent Amhara and Afar country folk, and be slaughtered by the militias of these latter in return? Does it really believe that it will “eventually” make its triumphant entry into Addis Ababa and wrest power from the hands of a legitimately elected government? Or, has it decided that the only way that it would accept to stop its destructive forays, and negotiate only after securing vast territories of Amhara and Afar? If this indeed its objective, then it must be ready for a very protracted and most materially and politically destructive war in Ethiopia’s history. Given its sheer hatred for the government of Ethiopia, and what it stands for, I am certain that it will not back-off from seeing the country fall in disarray than renounce its destructive agenda. What it continues to do is fanning the flames of hatred between peoples who have for decades, if not for centuries, have cohabited peacefully in a territory they have shared for millennia.

The TPLF has never sought honorable and equitable arrangements with any situation it has dealt with. It has always been moved by partiality, preferment, and advancement for itself and its people rather than equity, impartiality and fairness for all Ethiopians. Despite its claimed adherence to Marxist principles, it never swayed from its deeply culturally ingrained tribalism. Ethiopians’ main gripe against it is the fact that it only sought the hegemony, advantage and prosperity of its own people. One cardinal rule that long lasting and peaceful administrations have followed in Ethiopia and elsewhere is that the ruled need to be always coopted, made part of, and sharing power in their administration. What the TPLF chose to do it what not even the most powerful colonial forces have done. That is, it reserved for itself and its people every high and intermediate positions in government, military, and diplomacy, with unspoken advantages in the economic life of the country. The rest of Ethiopians were supposed to scramble for the leftover. Does it really believe that it will win over in any shape or form the Ethiopian people after abusing them for 27 excruciating years? It should thank the Ethiopian people instead for having born with incredible patience their abuses and maladministration. Other nations would have easily resorted to a genocidal war. The Ethiopian people have been tolerant and have let the TPLF govern unchecked and unimpeded for such a long time because they believed in peace at any cost. Now the TPLF is relentlessly pursuing the politics of war with no apparent aim than setting the country aflame, and hoping to emerge in the end with the most advantage. At the point Ethiopians are now, they rather see the war continue than let the TPLF get its way, or gain any advantage whatever.

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It is unclear to me whether the majority of Tigreans are on board with TPLF’s agenda and propaganda. However, it should be clear enough to them that the vast majority of Ethiopians are determined to see the end of the TPLF. Most Tigreans, I hope, see that Ethiopians still make a clear distinction between them and the party. However, those that stand to fan the destructive propaganda and unwarranted claims of the TPLF would only be inviting the enmity of the rest of Ethiopians. This, in and by itself, would be, or already is, an accomplishment for the TPLF. Every right thinking Tigrean would know that the path led out by the TPLF would only lead to the destruction of the region and irreparable enmity with the rest of Ethiopians. If, on the other hand, the Tigrean people cannot conceive a future as part of Ethiopia, it is their moral responsibility to propose as an end to this war the secession of Tigray. Nevertheless, I want to believe that most Tigreans can see through TPLF’s insanity and join Ethiopians to withhold their support to this most destructive force in Ethiopia’s history.  

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