By Tesfay Atsbeha and Kahsay Berhe
The TPLF started the armed struggle on 18 February 1975. We would like to remember the tens of thousands of Ethiopians of all groups who lost their lives on this occasion. We would also like to raise the questions why the legacy of the martyrs of the TPLF has degenerated to tyranny, why their suffering has led to the perpetuation of suffering, why the people for whose freedom and welfare the young people gave up their lives are not free to join any organisation of their choice and why the people are not free to elect their own representatives.
Meles was one of those people who in 1975 went to start an armed struggle in Tigray, but who on his way to a military training of the EPLF fled from Asmara without informing his “friends” like Seeye and Aw-alom. Despite his untrustworthy behaviour (which was covered up by the leadership clique of the TPLF), Meles was not only allowed to rejoin the TPLF after some months but also promoted to a deputy leadership of the Front in 1976.
The Tyranny of a Traitor
Meles and his clique (this clique comprising of Meles, Abay, Seyoum, Sebhat and their followers is still intact and in power) were the main architects of the manifesto of 1976 for the secession of Tigray from Ethiopia and therefore for the disintegration Ethiopia. When Meles and his clique saw that they were not in a position to get support for their agenda of secession, they avoided the mention of secession and concentrated themselves on consolidating their power by isolating, purging and liquidating their real and imagined opponents. The clique replaced the word: “secession” with the ambivalent phrase of: “self-determination including and up to secession” in 1979. Nevertheless, the clique had no vision and no agendas for the whole of Ethiopia.
Since he came to power in the TPLF 34 years ago, Meles has made a unique accomplishment in the history of Ethiopia and probably in the whole World by grabbing absolute power and becoming a tyrant at a state level as a traitor. The secret seems to be the fact that we Ethiopians have not yet been able to get rid of the recurrence of individuals enjoying absolute power as long as the tyrants were natives. Meles appeared to have given up the idea of secession and exploited our vulnerability to tyranny by becoming a tyrant to accomplish his aims as a traitor. Therefore we have the unique combination of tyranny and treason.
Although the clique had denied the possibility of carrying out an armed struggle together with the Amhara elite, due to the latter’s alleged chauvinism, the TPLF started preparing the EPDM as a multinational marionette in 1980. This boils down to the fact that, that what the clique wanted was to avoid working with independently organised Ethiopian forces while it wanted to use Ethiopian puppets to come to power, endanger the existence of Ethiopia as a country, give away Ethiopian territories, divide and rule, commit crimes against humanity, war crimes, steal, rob, cheat and exploit.
The policy of endangering the existence of Ethiopia as a country by giving away Ethiopian territories (to Eritrea , the Sudan and leasing fertile land to foreign bidders) and the policy of divide and rule on the basis of ethnicity can be logically traced back to the treasonous manifesto of the clique. The crimes against humanity and the war crimes which have been committed beginning from Tigray all the way up to Mogadishu are the acts of barbarism of the tyranny. The acts of treason have only been possible because the traitor himself is a tyrant and those who are serving the tyranny are simultaneously committing acts of treason.
Cheating donors and withholding aid from famine victims
On the one hand, Meles does not hesitate to pay lip service to the victims of famine. On the other hand, he has been subjecting famine victims to slow and agonising deaths by formally seeing to it that the central committees of the TPLF and MLLT (they were/are not different, anyway) passed a decision to retain 95% of the aid. The leadership is guilty of mass murder by withholding life-saving donations from the starving millions. Such actions of cruelty to the victims also show the culture of telling lies and cheating the donors into believing that their aid is reaching the needy or helping them to cover up the fact and create the impression that they were helping the needy.
Collecting votes by force like taxation
The absolute control over the army which is the single decisive source of the power of Meles is also his highest achievement while it is the most humiliating defeat for Ethiopians, including the army itself. Without the army, no puppet organisation would have been created, no cadre ventured to harass the inhabitants of any village, no prosecutor framed a trumped-up accusation against innocent citizens, no kangaroo-court sent innocent people to prison etc. These entities and activities have been wreaking havoc and terrorising Ethiopians of all walks of life.
There is actually no need for Meles to organise the farcical elections as long as he can elongate his reign of terror, destruction and division with the help of the entities mentioned above. What Meles is doing with these farcical elections is sadistically forcing his victims to hand over their rights of voting to him to demonstrate that the victims accept his tyranny. The votes of the people can only be colleted by force, like taxation. How else can people voluntarily participate in such elections when they cannot organise themselves without fear of repercussions? How can opposition candidates organise people as long as they can be arbitrarily arrested, harassed and even be killed?
It is similar to the massacre of civilians by the regime in 2005 which was followed by the imprisonment of not the murderers but the members and leaders of CUD and others. The prisoners were forced to call themselves guilty, confirm it with their signature and ask for pardon. It is as if a criminal would physically attack an innocent person and force the latter announce that he deserved being attacked. It is like the sadistic obsession of Meles which is manifested in the imprisonment and suffering of the innocent judge Birtukan Midekssa, Chairperson of Unity for Democracy and Justice, UDJ; because she tells the truth, struggles for her own human dignity and that of her compatriots and does not accept patronization to please Meles.
If the farcical elections were elections in the real sense of the word, the first person to be disqualified would have been Meles himself due to his crime as a murderer in his polling district, Adwa. To Meles` former closest neighbours and well known victims from Adwa belong among others Shewit (Atsbeha) Dagnew and Teklu Hawaz who were also members of the leadership of the TPLF. Why and how could the people of Adwa vote for Meles from a moral point of view and how can elections ever be democratic if the top candidate is the most criminal person who cannot be accused in Ethiopia?