By Bereket Kidane,
President Isaias Afewerki in his January 2017 interview with local journalists broadcast live on Eri-TV said that TPLF, re-baptized as EPRDF to divide Ethiopia along ethnic lines and subjugate it, has ended up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) wing of the hospital and that the State of Emergency declared to put down the organic insurgency was no more than a temporary pain relief medication or an Aspirin because it doesn’t deal with the root cause of the disease or ailment.
President Isaias discussed how panic-stricken, nervous Western governments that had been playing the role of enablers to the TPLF regime were reduced to biting their nails and helplessly watching in horror while using the word “tsunami” in diplomatic circles to describe the ethnic uprising of 2016 that swept Ethiopia like wildfire and shook TPLF to its core.
President Isaias recalled how in 1994 he was one of the first people to see the newly crafted Ethiopian constitution, designed to divide-and-conquer the Ethiopian State along ethnic lines, and how the very first thing that came to his mind was that the document read like a blueprint to disintegrate the Ethiopian State along ethnic and tribal lines.
President Isaias at the time registered his strong objection to the division of the Ethiopian polity along ethnic lines because he was convinced it would only balkanize the Ethiopian State over time but was told by the TPLF leadership, “You have your own world to deal with, let us deal with our own reality.”
President Isaias recalled how he was told by the TPLF leadership point blank that the only way the TPLF can control Ethiopia was if it divides it along ethnic lines.
Speaking of the Horn of Africa policies pursued by Western nations over the last 25 years, President Isaias said that even though Eritrea has suffered a lot due to its refusal to play along with the Western design on the region, the biggest casualties were borne by the Ethiopian people because the long-term damage done to the harmony and peaceful co-existence of the Ethiopian people as a result of the divide-and-conquer policies TPLF pursued (fully supported by the West) over the last two-and-half decades is incalculable.
As an example, he cited the open hostility and extreme hatred directed at ethnic Tigrayans in regions such as Amhara, Oromo, Afar and Somali. Tigrayans, for all intents and purposes, have become persona non grata in several kilils.
Regarding Eritrea’s participation in the Saudi-led anti-terrorism coalition, President Isaias said that it has been Eritrea’s wish for a long time now to see the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries assume a greater role in addressing terrorism and instability in our immediate region. Eritrea had been asking Saudi Arabia to play an expanded role in the region but her pleas were not met with action until the ascent of King Salman to the throne. King Salman’s strategic outlook on the region is very much aligned with Eritrea’s. A common understanding has been reached between Saudi Arabia and Eritrea on issues related to economics, security and diplomacy.
President Isaias compared the ethnic minority apartheid regime in Ethiopia to a patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) wing of the hospital. A better analogy perhaps may have been to a terminal cancer patient in a hospice and palliative care. It may take a few more months, but a priest will be called in to administer TPLF’s last rites.