Widening the Bright Side፡ TPLF Should be Deeply Reformed Never Eliminated
Dr. Yohannes Aberra Ayele 4-14-19
This is a critical transition period for Tigray from a thankless "National-service" to a rewarding "Self-service". In order to achieve this it would be ill-advised to "change the horse in the middle of the stream". TPLF has enumerable faults. Many of them were avoidable and should have been avoided; some were necessary evil; the rest were logical outcomes of experimentation in the absence of established methodologies and best practices to implement policies and legislation in this Country which in many cases seems to become unmanageable even to God himself. After all, those in the Party are human beings sharing all strengths and weaknesses like the rest of us.
If we carefully assess the political landscape in Ethiopia vis-a-vis Tigray, without succumbing to emotions, our findings will invariably be that Tigray has to stand on its two feet and minimize its dependence on others. As history repeats itself almost cyclically pertaining to the relationship between Tigray and Ethiopian central governments it is the right time to break the vicious circle. In the next 10 to 15 years Tigray cannot afford a radical change of a ruling party. Many may violently oppose what I am proposing; but I am only playing pragmatism not the unhelpful theories of "democracy". The most practical thing to do is to walk in "old shoes" in a rough terrain. I don't need to tell people how painful and bruising it is to walk on a stony path in a new pair of shoes. For now we have to be down to earth practical not purely scientific. However incomplete, a one handed, a one legged, a one eyed TPLF could have been a blessing in the dark post-Yohannes IV period in Tigray. Is this time different from that? No, it's not; but this time there is no need to panic. There is no leadership gap. TPLF has succeeded to patiently and skillfully save the people from another darkness after a century. We are all grateful to them. I recommend a benevolent dictatorship in Tigray, led by TPLF, to get us through and out to a socioeconomic development "Canaan".
If we can avoid hypocrisy and tell the truth blatantly four to five parties for five million people is too much. This is not doctor per person or hospital bed per person. Maximizing parties per person is a curse whereas maximizing hospital beds per person is a blessing. It is very easy, but valueless to hatch hundreds of political parties overnight. However, the people need only one thing፡ developing in peace! If the hundreds of parties have the same objective of bringing about development for the people why is it necessary to have one hundred parties for a single objective? My learned guess is there will be 100 aspirants to the presidency; that's all!
Tigray is in a historic stage of emerging from the ashes into a viable economic and political entity. This is a time of disciplined and regimented action not a time for a political luxury of western style elections in Tigray. Political opposition parties in Tigray include such groups as those who have spent decades away from the people of Tigray in Europe and Eritrea. Others were among the people of Tigray, but squabbling on trivialities instead of the much larger picture and common agenda of development. The parties in "exile" have a lot of catching up to do in Tigray much more than touring Tigray and counting people who depend on relief food. It is a lack of wisdom to say the least to praise the "Kerro" and "Fanno" hooligans in public for the home- coming while the same groups posed existential threat to Tigray. It is ironical that a party claiming to advocate for the people of Tigray is brought home by declared enemies of Tigray. Everyone knows how the first Weyane failed. The central government used some members of Tigray regional nobility to help it crush the rebellion. No repeat of the 19th and 20th century’s foolishness in the 21st century.
The best political strategy in this economic and political transition for Tigray is፡
1. To form a political alliance between TPLF and the opposition parties, responsibly led by TPLF as a senior party, based on shared strategies for solving the basic social, economic and political issues in Tigray. American parties compete in elections on minor differences. All parties have minimum points of agreement pertaining to the territorial integrity, military doctrine, foreign policy, and the supremacy of the American nation. Likewise, the four or five parties should sit and draw a well-researched and agreed upon roadmap for Tigray. The parties should be friendlier to each other. After all, what matters most is the interest of the people of Tigray. Their individual or group interest is irrelevant. It is meaningless for the people of Tigray if Tigrayan politicians be prime ministers, ministers or commanding generals in Addis Ababa. It was never useful before, never useful now and never useful in the future. All the talents, time, money, and energies of Tigrayans should be spent in Tigray. The People of Tigray have excused the Tigrayan politicians and scholars for neglecting them and focusing elsewhere. They will never excuse any repetition of such self-serving actions! The people of Tigray are not mere tunnels to pass through to the parliament building and Federal offices in Addis Ababa.
2. I know that a policy research institute is established in Tigray. This is an excellent start. It was long overdue. The institute has to be expanded staffed with disciplinary and interdisciplinary researchers whose findings would advise Regional development planning. Added to this should be a Regional System of Monitoring and Evaluation of development programs staffed by monitoring and evaluation professionals trained in one of the universities in Tigray.
3. TPLF must remain an independent party whether the EPRDF survives or not. It would a historical mistake for the TPLF to melt into the proposed single National party. This will create a dangerous leadership crisis in Tigray. Any National party in Ethiopia is acceptable given the unity of Ethiopia which is at stake. However, for over a century Tigray is repeatedly beaten until it feels like the step-daughter of Ethiopia. It has been treated as alien. The people of Tigray are isolated and unsafe in a Country they call their homeland (Ethiopia). Their trust for Ethiopian politicians has been eroded beyond repair by persistent provocations. Many do not care to hide their evil wishes of Tigray eliminated from the map of Ethiopia. In such a context it would be sheer suicide to end regionally relevant political leadership in favor of a National party.