Tigray Elections Are Another Gift to Ethiopia

By A. S. Mulugeta

Addis Ababa ( Opinion) — Local elections to take place in Tigray on 9 September unsettle the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who dissolved EPRDF to put in place a party that has never won elections.

The much-lauded political change of 2018 turned into oppression against the very people who supported the change. A tract containing poorly argued political mantras, Medemer cannot replace a progressive political agenda for Ethiopia whose strength and influence are a function of how it manages its diversity without giving into to exploitative and authoritarian systems of yore.

Ready to vote: A resident in a Mekelle neighbourhood with an ID card issued to him by the Tigray State Electoral Commission.

Tigray elections are another gift to the Ethiopian people who benefited from the regime change in 1991, when the Derg regime was overthrown by TPLF.

Tigray has been spared by the aggressive and anti-democratic agenda of Abiy Ahmed because TPLF did not only facilitate a peaceful regime change but it also put in place plans and systems to forestall any oppressive turn in Ethiopian politics if Abiy Ahmed makes — and he did — the policy choice to make Ethiopia into a police state similar to pre-1991 regimes.

Pro-federalism Ethiopian nationalities will learn from Tigray the important lesson that defending fruits of the federal system is an obligation on every Ethiopian who is not nostalgic about either Imperial Ethiopia or Derg-ruled Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is now politically isolated: political turmoil and poor diplomatic acumen to deal with GERD pressures from Sudan and Egypt expose how Abiy Ahmed wasted political capital. If the Ethiopian government continues to oppress its citizens, it cannot aspire to become an African economic powerhouse.

Abiy Ahmed should not be seeing Tigray elections as a threat. Ethiopia’s political image could get a facelift after Tigray elections.

© A. S. Mulugeta, 2020.