TPLF down-sized to a single-family party: Seeye Abraha
Press Release / March 23, 2012
The former TPLF top official who later joined the opposition group and became founding member of Medrek, a coalition party, said that TPLF no more exists today in the fashion that we used to know it years ago.
Seeye, who is currently studying at Harvard University, said the present socio-economic situation in Ethiopia is in the same state of expose with the final days of the military government of Colonel Mengistu Haile-mariam, characterized by exorbitant cost of living and deepening public discontent. In a country where inflation is soaring over 30%, corruption has become the order of the day, Seeye said. Ethiopia now supersedes neighboring country, Kenya which at one time was well known for corruption throughout the continent. He also noted that with such slippery economy EPRDF is facing insurmountable economic challenges.
Meles, after the 2005 election, not only created pseudo political parties but also pseudo propaganda machinery. Referring to 10 million Birr fund allocated to political parties for the forthcoming local election, EPRDF has already fetched the lion's share, that is 9 million Birr and sadly only 3500 Birr goes to Medrek, Seeye remarked. His party is unable to even lease an assembly hall anywhere in Addis Ababa, albeit all fees are paid in full.
Cognizant of the fact that EPRDF is unable to cleanse its tarnished records in human rights and undemocratic deeds, is now attempting to legitimize its actions by calling itself "development-oriented government." Government owned mass media are sanctioned to report nothing but economic development, he said. He recalled the ban on Deutsche Welle Amharic Service (German Radio Amharic service) last year and the warning given to it by EPRDF to focus its report only on the economic activities the country undertakes.
No matter how EPRDF attempts to portray itself, the Ethiopian people are fully aware of the genesis of the economic problem -- the political system of EPRDF, Seeye remarked. Poverty and excessive rise of living cost have become core economic agenda of the people, Seeye said, adding that "... adversely, the ruling party has made all economic issues to sound political issues. Politics is no more an issue of politicians alone."
According to the head of Medrek, this is "a new phenomenon".. a phenomenon which opposing political parties should count on to rally and organize the public against the decadent regime of Meles Zenawi.
Referring to Andinet's 5-year plan, Seeye Abraha explained that the party which the Ethiopian people would form has to have the ability to bring to an end the intrinsic problems of the nation. He put special emphasis on the need for peaceful struggle and to wage a national reconciliation venture. He said, "Ethiopians have to be ready to forgive and reconcile with one another," with the view to co-existing in peace and harmony.
The former minister of defense said over 90% of the military personnel come from Tigray region and said "they too aspire the rule of law and freedom," once again referring to national reconciliation scheme.
During a question and answer session, Andinet's executive member was showered with a number of questions most of them related to the days that he served as part of EPRDF nucleus body, to which he repeatedly attempted to stress the need to close the past history and focus on the future. With his eloquent approach, Seeye Abraha, at times being a little emotional, managed to address every pertinent issue including the nature of the federal police and the saga that evolve around Hawzen massacre.
Referring to Hawzen , Seeye ardently explained that it was the Derg that committed the massacre in an open Hawzen market. "I wouldn't dare to stand and face you today, if we had been involved in the annihilation of Hawzen."
With regards to the federal police, Seeye pointed out "it is not a regular police force; rather it is a para military police trained to defuse public unrest and mass demonstrations in and around cities."
He outrightly rejected the idea of armed struggle as a means to bring change in Ethiopia, for the prevailing geo-politics of the world doesn't warrant such form of struggle for social justice and equality.
Earlier, a hand-written letter of Andualem Aragie, the jailed Andinet Party's secretary, was read out to the audience. The letter from Kaliti was later put to public auction and fetched a little over $1,000. Andualem is charged with 'terrorism,' a trumped-up charge for the man publicly known as an ardent opponent of any form of violence to effect political change.
All the proceeds from the event goes to finance Finote Netsanet, the official organ of Andinet party, Girmaye Gizaw, chairman of the Atlanta Andinet support group told the participants. Cheru Terefe, who chaired the meeting, who himself is a veteran political activist since late 60s stressed the importance of a newspaper, particularly in the struggle that the Ethiopian people are waging and urged the audience to support the newspaper in any way they could.
Girmaye, an organizer within the Atlanta Andinet support chapter, emphasized that "to judge people in their current political stand rather than scrutinizing their past history". He made a call to develop the habit of accommodating each others' opposing views and focus on viable solutions to our pertinent national issues.
The most amazing feature of the day was the fact that Girmaye Gizaw and Seeye Abraha who at one time had been fighting against each other during the armed struggle in late '70s and early '80s are now sitting next to each other one as host and guest speaker, respectively, both fighting for the same cause now.
Seeye recalled the specific place, Bizet, where the two had waged an armed struggle against each other decades ago.
One elderly woman who observed this amazing incident said, "What a historical coincidence. These two individuals are living examples for the old and universal saying that "in politics there is no permanent enemy nor could there be a permanent friend.'
The meeting that lasted for over 5 hours was opened by observing a moment of silence in honor of YeneSew Gebre and for all those who paid the ultimate price in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
At the end of the meeting Seeye Abraha was presented with a plaque that recognizes his struggle and reminds him to continue his fight with fervent and zealous manner.