Sense & sensibility:                      Why TPLF insists on 2020 election

31 Aug

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Editor’s Note:

Without batting its eyes, TPLF openly claims life in Tigray is stable and safe! The question one must ask is to whom it is safe. No sooner than this was stated last June, it struck many as TPLF propaganda. That’s up until the funeral of the late Ethiopian Chief of Staff Gen. Seare Mekonnen.

A former classmate of the General, Dr. Aregawi Berhe flew from Addis Abeba to Mekelle to bid farewell to his former classmate. He writes, on arrival at the airport, he and other mourners accompanying him were received with beatings. 

As far as I knew, Ethiopian culture respects the dead and mourners. I don’t think this is one of them. Nor does the impression one gets from this makes Mekelle a safe and peaceful city with good governance!


The TPLF recently showed some temerity by claiming Tigray has been growing faster, i.e., relative to Ethiopia. However, no sooner than this announcement, Tigrayans rose in arms, among others, angered by such lies and the conditions of life. On seeing this, TPLF jumped on its propaganda wagon and started blaring it. This was further aggravated by labour actions reportedly taking place within enterprises owned by the TPLF itself. 

Inevitably many suffered the consequences. People were imprisoned and reportedly in a typical TPLF fashion, along with humiliations and  beatings. Threats and mistreatments forced the workers to end the strikes. No mater how and where, disruption of societal life may not be fruitful. By the same token nor is the action taken against those people acceptable, inhuman as it is, while a consistent TPLF’s natural response.

Most important, however, is who should punish the TPLF that has pushed Mekelle into 75% rate of inflation. Like the TPLF, economists consider inflation a robber of people’s wealth and livelihoods!

Any reason why it thought this has made Mekelle reportedly safe?


The following is hilarious. A non-TPLF member in Kola Tembein (Werk Enba district) has 13 goats. As part of TPLF’s intolerance, it wanted to provoke the owner. It ‘imprisoned’ six of the goats in the house of a local militia member. This was intended to get the goat owner submitting to TPLF, and becoming a member.

Fortunately, for the owner’s six goats escaped and went back to him—notwithstanding the distance. I don’t think this speaks well of the TPLF, even by standards of goats’ morality. What made it worse for the ruling party is, as if such humiliation is not enough, the local people who heard about this reportedly received the goats with a hero’s welcome! 

Doesn’t this say something?

by Asmelash Yohannes (PhDI: Why does TPLF badly need the next election to be held?

From strategic point of view, the leaders of TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) know, or they are predicting to say the least, that the ruling EPDRF party may not survive the upcoming general election. You can call this a gamble or a bluff! But it could make sense if you have the time to crunch the numbers!

TPLF is with no doubt credited with the creation of the different parties that the ruling party EPDRF is composed of. Thus, their strategic calculation and prediction should not be undermined. They are betting that ODP (Oromo Democratic Party) and ADP (Amhara Democratic Party) would be victims of their own political making: the ‘reform’ championed by both parties would backfire spectacularly and it would either sweep them into the trash bin! or would highly weaken them politically. This thinking is based on different factors.  ODP and ADP are going to face an uphill battle in their home turf in the upcoming general election as they are going to compete against opposition parties that have strong support at grass roots level.  For example, ODP would compete against OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) and OFC (Oromo Federalist Congress) in Oromia region. OLF, despite the splitting of the party into different factions due to internal power struggle, has a strong support throughout Oromia. The reception of OLF’s leader Abbo Dawud  Ebsa at Addis Ababa from his self imposed exile had attracted millions of people. Main streets and road junctions in many cities of Oromia region are still painted with the flag of OLF. On the other hand, OFC is led by charismatic political veterans: both Dr. Merrara Gudena and Bekella Gerba wield greater influence in Oromia than that of the current president of Oromia region Abbo Shimelis Abdissa. Thus, TPLFites are of the opinion that ODP’s share of the ballots in Oromia region would be snatched by OLF and OFC. Furthermore, Jawar Mohammed, a political fire brand of the Querro movement, is a force that needs to be reckoned with. His decision to support either of the political opponents of ODP could be a game changer.

Further north, every political observer in Ethiopia understands that ADP of Amhara region is at crossroads. The assassination of high ranking political leaders of ADP in June 2019 was the last thing the party needed.   Even before this unfortunate event, the party was under immense pressure from new and emerging nationalist parties. Nationalist parties led by National Movement of Amhara (NMA) and other vocal activists residing abroad have managed to shrink the influence of ADP in Amhara region. This was factored by TPLF strategists. TPLFites are dead sure that the combination of internal power struggle within ADP and the threat from nationalist parties in Amhara would hasten the demise of ADP.

In General, TPLF seems to conclude that ODP and ADP would be at perilous situation at the next general election. The flip side of their argument is that TPLF can comfortably win the election in Tigray as they still seem to command the support of the elite and ordinary people. There are four opposition parties in Tigray: National Congress of Great Tigray (BAITONA), Third Revolution Tigray (TRT), ARENA Tigray, and TAND (Tigray Alliance for National Democracy). However, these four parties don’t seem to mobilize people and their support in Tigray is not something that could threaten the dominance of TPLF. If the next election is to be held as planned, there’s no doubt that TPLF will garner significant support in Tigray to overwhelmingly sweep all seats for the regional and national parliaments. However, the future for ODP and ADP is very bleak. TPLFites have officially and unofficially started to proclaim that they would seek coalition with other federalist parties if ODP and ADP fail to win sufficient votes in the next general election.

I am not in a position to ridicule the calculations of the TPLF strategists nor am I going to give them thumps up. But nothing would surprise me if Prime Minister Abiy decides to postpone the general election for fear of losing his grip on power. He perfectly understands that he stands zero chance of staying at the helm if ODP and ADP lose ground in Oromia and Amhara, respectively. For this reason, he may decide to postpone the election indefinitely until he feels comfortable that the survival of EPRDF is not under any threat. However, it would not surprise me a bit if the ruling coalition party disintegrates before the general election is held! These days, only fools would dare to predict what the future holds for the country.


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