Ethiopia
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TPLF-conserved constitution and its ethnic-led divisive targets still hover over Ethiopia

By Sewale Belew – February 7, 2023. sewaleb@yahoo.com

Implications of tribally led political marketing ventures in Ethiopia

Since the promulgation of the currently operational constitution devised by TPLF, primarily based on TPLF’s own vested interests, Ethiopia has been going through the trauma of public governance of tribally-led and federally linked mini-nations that function based on tribal, linguistic and cultural divisive aspirations, rather than on points that strengthen Ethiopian citizenship and citizens’ common responsibilities and obligations.

Both the previous TPLF regime and the current PM Abiy’s administration have a well- established pattern of illegitimately aiming at civilians and their possessions, and putting individuals on trial branding the latter as having committed a relentless terror campaign. Each regime’s biased actions includes, among others, refined security scrutiny, and imposing extremely severe, or go further than what is right or necessary for restrictions, especially those moving towards the capital city Addis Ababa. Public movements and activities are carefully monitored and controlled by means of one to five spying styles, the ever-present threat of deadly force looming over the poor Amhara people, who have become scapegoats for all kinds of tribally concocted atrocities in Ethiopia. From the rate of persistent or routine ethnic cleansing actions, it seems the very existence of the Amhara people is somehow criminalized.

Both the TPLF regime and its successor, the Prosperity Party regime, have made themselves the most lawless and unaccountable state actors on the African continent, violating the international legal standards and unilaterally rejecting any mechanisms of accountability for killing innocent lives that have been massacred or killed mainly in rural communities. Therefore, under the most demanding tests for an apartheid regime, these two regimes’ brutal subjection of millions of Ethiopians to second-tier social, political, and economic status other than their own ethnic choices in the regime’s political marketing strategies meets the test.

The overall climate the general public has in Ethiopia today of deliberate political, cultural and religious wipeout is very sad scenery indeed. Ethiopia has become a country where the absence of law and order is at its peak and where protracted ethnic cleansing is committed on regular and continuous bases. The OLF-Shene fighters, led by Ormumma’s view, managed to control the zone areas beyond the mass persecution of innocent citizens. They were able to go from being guerrilla fighters to regular fighters. They have clearly raised their level of struggle by being independent from the government directly and indirectly.

If the ethnic-centered myth and confusion, created by tribally-led constitution and its politicians and political activists, who deliberately create public anger and ethnic conflict, aspire to ultimately create regional division. These aspirational attempts persistently continue; in which case, Ethiopia will not be saved as a national body of its citizens. Nor would there be any reliable structural political marketing system that maintains the national peace, order and democracy. This chaotic scene is mainly caused due to the aggravated ethnic conflicts throughout Ethiopia. As tribally-led havoc and destruction operations, mainly the poor Amhara communities are targeted as tribal scapegoat, and the country is in colossal danger and lack of stability. While corruption and anarchy remain major challenges in the political marketplace of the prosperity party’s strategic attempts, yet, there are undeniable signs of some progress here and there in parts of the country.

During its reign, the TPLF-regime has deliberately implemented its plan to change people’s thinking and attitudes by dividing them by ethnicity, language and place. The project looks like a factory operation where individuals are spying on each person for five people to obey the government. It was officially confirmed that that the TPLF-regime was a rent seeker, focused on profits and greed rather than developing the country and its citizens alike.

Since 2018, the political platform in Ethiopia is vividly exhibiting a series of seemingly routine, yet unrelated crises abound. The political marketing strategy to seek profits by way of intrigues and trickery of the TPLF is based on threatening to divide and destroy Ethiopia as a unified national statute. Those who challenge, TPLF’s divisive stand and its ambition to amass resources for itself, used to face heavy handed annihilations. A case in point is the one time claim that Ras Dashen Mountain belongs to Tigray. To date, TPLF, that is currently heading the Tigray regional government, except for losing some members of the leadership, remains intact by upholding the tribalism-led apartheid constitution alive.

In almost all these persisting traumatic crisis events since the takeover of TPLF and the ensuing Aby government, as if peace and orderliness in Ethiopia is under full government control, PM Abiy Ahmed’s régime shockingly manifests attitude of indifference or that of disdain. To date, it continues to keep itself aloof from visibly traumatic crisis occurring in the country. Instead, it attempts to focus on its short-term project tasks, holding a series of marathon meetings and cutting ribbons. In other words, this regime is not fulfilling its obligations and responsibilities of establishing national and local peace, uniting its citizens under one national banner and making the public confident and proud of their Ethiopian citizenship identity, and ready to take part in any of the national resources development ventures.

In terms of implementing upholding the currently operational constitution, PM Abiy’s admin is not only a continuance of the previous TPLF-rule system, but also it is a direct successor of TPLF-regime’s constitutional implementation targets. The only difference between the two is the ethnic difference betwixt the two party heads. Therefore, the endlessly ongoing conflicts and the resultant lack of peace and orderliness in Ethiopia originate directly from the very apartheid constitution utilized as operational by this tribally-led regime. As of now, Aby’s government does not give importance to the protection of Ethiopia citizens’ right to their citizenship and to their inalienable rights to move and work everywhere, or wherever they want. On the contrary, for any governance or work related purposes, people are fenced or restricted by regional and zonal limitations.

That being the case, mainly, both the previous TPLF-regime and the current prosperity party (or OPDO) government entity are characterized by their explicit exclusion of non-Tigre and non-Oromo people, their dual legal system that do not hold water at the end of the day, and their brutality toward the Amhara, whom they consider as an ethnic oppressor in Ethiopia. indigenous to the land. Yet the poor indigenous Amhara people have lived for generations under the constant threat of forced expulsions and violent efforts to obliterate their Ethiopian identity, religion and culture.

Both the TPLF and the current prosperity party governance systems have been relatively similar to one another in terms of their political marketing principles and rent seeking arenas meant for aggrandizing political profits. So, both of them maintain the same political marketing beliefs, the same political management styles, and the same governmental and structural divisions of socio-economic sectors. Similarly, both of them uphold and follow similar political market competitive trends that are purely and solely based on the tribally divisive apartheid constitution in practice. Therefore, the prosperity party and its current political market transaction system desires to uphold and continue with the currently operational constitution. In actual fact, PM Abiy’s administration doesn’t show any clear interest in changing or even improving the contents of this constitution in any way or form. That means in the manner public governance operates today, the politically traumatic crisis that affects the public in Ethiopia will get even worse, not better.

Tribally centered partisan politics and its distresses on the general public

Viewed from citizens’ overall safety and livelihood perspectives, this tribally centered politics in Ethiopia is a deliberate imposition on the public to purposely prevent any Ethiopian citizens from having the freedom to identify with anything in common. Naturally, tribal political parties do not show any unitary character to bring citizens together. All tribally led party politics desires for is to grab the country’s wealth under its pow for the sake of rent seeking for its vested interest of party politics. What such politicians forget is the common ownership of national wealth by all citizens of all walks of life indiscriminately. Today we are observing the fact that prosperity does not exist in Ethiopia, but only in imagination. Instead of prosperity a system of immorality and theft is increasing. Under the pretext of ethnic justice, prosperity party is committing worse mistakes than the previous EPRDF-regime. Today, this party is determined to spread its political rent-seeking intentions into the Ethiopian orthodox church management, paving the way for splintered tribal skirmishes. So, currently, the Prosperity Party is officially opening the way for innocent citizens to be attacked in tribally protected zones and regions. In this way, the OLF-Shene and TPLF fighters, who are fighting for power, have massacred thousands of defenseless citizens.

At the end of the day, the recent lack of peace and disorder in Ethiopia creates lack of trust in the government. Already, several people among the public have lost faith and many complain and accuse that the prosperity party government is not effectively solving the tribal-led and orchestrated political anarchy, lack of peace, corruption, partisanship and disorder with adequate police and legal governmental control methods.

Although the TPLF-instigated war in northern parts of Ethiopia to recapture power from PM Abiy’s regime has subsided for the time being, and that the country appears to be in relative peace, citizens of central, western and southern Ethiopia (where mainly the Amhara community) are still deliberately hunted and massacred in plenty, and they are also displaced, kidnapped and deprived of their basic human rights. Several foreign media and human rights organizations have confirmed that the ethnic cleansing acts are mainly focused on who is who or identity questioning. Those labeled as outsiders by the attacking group are always the primary victims of such politically competitive and yet atrocious actions.

Cracking attempts on the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church and its boomerang costs

Initially, Ethiopians of all walks of life indiscriminately hoped PM Abiy would bring the nasty tribal divisive political atmosphere sawn and harvested on the new generation by the TPLF-regime and that have been transitorily hovering over Ethiopia for decades. Yet eventually, that hope dashed into oblivion. The public is getting fed-up with endless tribal feuds and skirmishes here and there and everywhere.

The recent clandestine attempts to establish two patriarchal synods within Ethiopia for regime’s own evil-ended political profits, indicates that the current regime is determined to split the country into mini-regions. It is a clandestine system of discipline and fear designed to cow and erase the long-standing Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church. But reality persists, and there is going to be a strong Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church following people. They can’t be imagined away, and they deserve religious freedom from the persistent cruelty, annihilation and oppression that come with tribally-led politics.

The recent coup de’ synod is purely unacceptable effort that may destroy Ethiopia as a unified country; and back fires negative consequences on the governance apparatus as a whole. Clearly, the splintering group boldly attempted to separate the Ethiopian Orthodox Church into two synods purely on tribal interests and greed. Mind you, historically, this church has been and it will remain to be able to embracing and keeping its followers under one religious umbrella. This church is an inclusive national strong symbol of Ethiopian unity. But now, clandestinely, the tribally-led activists and politicians in common, strategically continue to create a synod of regional political ideology on behalf of Prosperity Party (formerly known as OPDO).

And when the cracking attempts tried on the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church was recently discovered and became clear to the general public, it would have been agreeable to outright explain the reality right from the beginning by those government officials responsible, explaining that the splintering group actually desires to have its own separate Oromo Synod rather than attempting to cover-up the issue by lying about their inability to utilize the Oromo language for preaching purposes. Any leadership managing public governance in a tribally jumbled nation should opt for correcting the tribally mixed discordant temperament. It should also examine the roots of the splintering group aspirations aptly. In my view, it is simply tribal politics and greed that has long been supported and sponsored by influential government officials, that pushed the splinter group to realize its current attempts against the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church standing principles.

So, PM Abiy’s warning to his cabinet ministers not to get involved in this church affiliated national issue is irrational. To our dismay he didn’t warn the Oromia regional government officials and their security forces and policemen who are within his government rank and file, who clandestinely act as surrogates and supporters of the OLF-Shene out in the country.

Also, what he has intentionally been avoiding during all this time of his region of government is the persistent annihilation of the Amhara people by those inhuman OLF-Shene narrow nationalist fanatic extremists, who have been sponsored, supported, armed and mentored by proxy individuals working within the government machinery itself. If kept to cook at the current political tension rates, this may bring political boomerang costs on the prosperity party and its regime. Therefore, without much ado, PM Abiy must come out bold enough to the fore and fulfill his leadership obligations and responsibilities by providing administrative and militaristic order to stop the routinely practiced killing of innocent citizens by politically tribally-led armed groups.

Hate-mongering political market activists

Tribal hate-mongering political market activists in Ethiopia, who instigate their political restrictions with hateful narrow-nationalist narratives are stubbornly pulling the country down the drain. No matter how much willing the technocratic elites are to open up themselves for discussion and negotiation and for establishing democratic forums in Ethiopia, the young generation that has been deeply inculcated by extreme tribal narratives of hatred for decades, has not been tamed itself aptly for any meaningful change. Similarly, the existing constitutional structure has not been corrected or reformed from its tribally divisive articles and related contents. There is vivid weakness of rational political culture. As a result, innocent people are daily massacred and lot of national resources are unlawfully destroyed.

As citizens of Ethiopia, the people have lived together for centuries. Even in the future, the people will not have any problem of living together. But now the main problem is the political elites who invest their political views and market position in narrow nationalism, in which the Prosperity Party is facing a serious challenge from its own narrow nationalistic interests and other political activists outside the party. For political activists led by tribes, their own irreconcilable dreams and narrow tribal interests are more important than the common national interests of Ethiopian citizens. Such self-centered political rent-seeking and corruptive profit making must be condemned straightaway.

What is to be done is resistance until rightful constitution is put in place

For the Ethiopian public, right now facing a deadly onslaught from an increasingly dangerous tribally-led extremists’ government, popular uprising and resistance is the main tool of solidarity, mutual aid, and determined opposition to an apartheid system.

In order to realize nationwide affluence and democracy of Ethiopians of all walks of life, the current regime has the primary duty of ensuring peace, national security and the consensus of Ethiopian citizens alike for its own mere continuation on power. A political marketplace where national unity can be forged and strengthened in a stable political and functional socio-economic environment is highly essential and central to progress. Therefore, PM Abiy’s regime must listen to peoples’ appeal and urgently stop the tribal-based constitution and its ensuing political conspiracy that is progressively continuing down the hill towards chaos and national crisis.

In the last four years alone lots of reports have come out detailing the crimes of the TPLF, the OLF-Shene and that of the current governments stubborn upholding of the apartheid constitution as a source of annihilation and calling it a “cruel system of domination and crime against humanity, founded upon key components of “territorial fragmentation; ethnic –led segregation and control; dispossession of land and property; and denial of economic and social rights.

According to General Obasanjo of Nigeria, nearly one million Ethiopians were killed in the recent fight that ended in 2022, betwixt TPLF and the government in power. Of these, about 3 in 5 of whom were children, teenagers and women. Most of these lost lives belonged to “civilians killed by the two warring combatant army in the struggle for power betwixt TPLF and Prosperity Party military operations and contexts where the innocent citizens presented no imminent threat or danger to the warrying soldiers. The new year is still young, but already it has seen levels of violence and death that, if sustained, will make 2023 even bloodier than 2022.

So, without much ado, it is necessary to point out that the prosperity party government must review the constitution and make all essential changes in it and ensuing reforms in a civilized manner and with approval of the Ethiopian public. It is also the regime’s historical obligation and responsibility to act as per the stipulated law.

Whereas indifference for the existence of Ethiopia, while at the same time trying to secure political profits and rent seeking based on profitable narrow nationalist political interests will eventually bring the country to its knees and to the brinks of a failed state. Splintered and divisive political move will definitely cause Ethiopia not to continue as a unified state.

A government that doesn’t have a good trust in its people and by its people ultimately becomes an isolated government. Its security force isn’t as powerful as the people. Manifestation of indifference, contempt and a sign of arrogance and phony behavior by the leadership obviously and ultimately forces the general public to resort to protests and taking-up arms and implication of such behavior.

At present, it is enough to examine deeply how the TPLF’s political journey of failure has weakened Tigray and how the political market mentality based on ethnic divisive politics hastened its downward journey and final decline. Presently, in addition to the prosperity party (OPDO) and those who stubbornly support the constitution of the TPLF are trying to establish a tribal-led Tigre and Oromo church synods abroad. These fanatic groups give the impression as though God is tribal in his spirit, soul and thinking. Even when these narrow nations gather and pray to God, they follow their narrow regional (district) feelings. But in reality, such a misstep justifies their inhuman behavior.

The suppression of the Amhara people as a people and the removal of the Amhara culture as a concept and a living culture have been central goals of both the TPLF and its offspring, the OPDO, since the moral legitimacy of their tribally-led political-marketing project depended on and still depends on the idea that there is no such thing as Ethiopia.

Officially, the Prosperity Party group is caught deep in the already existing TPLF’s constitutional romantic belief and thinking. In this respect, as national outliers in their own frequent violations of international law, both the TPLF and Prosperity Party regimes are detached from the regular and universal governance system in their blatant refusal to change the apartheid constitution. As indicated above, the constitution was concocted for tribally inclined political rent-seeking purposes and for their respective party political profits. Indeed, the technocrats within each regime’s rank and file do understand each regime’s stance on the human rights crisis in Ethiopia, but they have no means to challenge the leadership. This situation is among today’s clearest current examples of doublethink since both governments have openly shown that they faintly condemn ethnic cleansing operations conducted within Ethiopia while at the same time giving their unwavering support to the ethnic cleansing operations by their respective government’s oppressive dual system.

The pressing need for constitutional reform

As Ethiopian citizens, we strongly feel it is high time for the leadership of Prosperity Party to learn from the recent past failure of the TPLF and the worst ethnic divisive political marketing activities being carried out so far. One burning concern to deal with is constitutional reform. If realized aptly, it can enable the Ethiopian public and its citizens to play each, its parts, in the country’s upcoming progress. The government can also carry out strategic operations for lasting peace and secure democracy by getting out of the tainted hatred and partisan politics. Constitutional reform can also help to see in practice the inseparable contribution of democracy and socio-economic growth that are highly required to stabilize and modernize Ethiopia.

Those who have active stake at the Ethiopian political market place should join hands and collectively opt to put an end to the current violent, corruptive and competitive behavior meant for rent seeking and profits. Instead, they should open-up a new chapter in the country’s democratic building processes.

For this, we need to consider the following three main points for practical and mainstream application (use):

  • In principle, citizens have common responsibilities and obligations. This means, everyone born in the same country has the same name. Anyone born in Ethiopia is called an Ethiopian citizen.
  • Even if a person is born in a given village, ultimately, his citizenship is defined as an Ethiopian at the motherland level. That means, his nationality is an Ethiopian citizen. Therefore, whether an individual or a group claims to have an ethnic identity at the bottom, in the end, he is an Ethiopian citizen at the national level.
  • The overall issue of citizenship has been accepted at the global level. Therefore, when it comes to Ethiopia, as a stakeholder of Ethiopian national issues, it is anyone citizen’s duty or responsibility to show vested interest in the security and future development of Ethiopia. That means, any individual born in Ethiopia is obliged to accept the national requirements in common with other Ethiopian citizens, regardless of differences in terms of ethnicity, religion, language, or cultural affinity.

At the end of the day, if the national consultation attempt is to fix and end the ethnically-oriented federation, which is the main origin and destination of the tribally led political chaos, and which is riddled with problems and the cause of massacres and destruction, and if the participants only consult on behalf of their respective tribal organizations as before, it will not have any effect. But eminent scholars of Ethiopian citizenship, as well as representatives of Ethiopian investors, professional associations, women, youth, arts, sports, etc. and advisers on political and socio-economic options are openly engaged, then, it is likely that promising results will be achieved in future

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