In 2021, Ethiopia held successfully her first democratic elections. For the first time in Ethiopian history, Ethiopia instituted an independent National Election Board, headed by the lawyer Birtukan Mideksa. For the first time in Ethiopia’s history, there is now an independent judiciary, and the freedom of press is fully guaranteed. The democratic government elected in 2021, led by PM Abiy Ahamad, scrupulously respects the separation of powers between the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. Ethiopians has thus made giant democratic strides within a year.
The birth of democracy in Ethiopia was made possible by the eviction from power of the TPLF in 2018. For 27 years, the TPLF inflicted on Ethiopians the Nazi politics of Blut und Boden and mercilessly subjected Ethiopians to its ethnic divide-and-rule authoritarian politics. It established a national network of spies—the 1 in 5 system—, created a network of secret prisons and torture centers, assassinated students and union leaders, persecuted and imprisoned journalists, academics, and all those who stood for democracy and human rights. Thousands of Ethiopians were forced into exile to escape imprisonment, torture, and assassination. With the eviction of the TPLF from power in 2018, the new pro-democracy government, led by Abiy Ahmed, freed all political prisoners, shut down the secret prisons and torture centers of the TPLF, and allowed the unrestricted return of persons and political organizations in exile. For the first time in Ethiopian history, an open political space in which all could freely and equally participate became a reality.
For 27 years, the TPLF had its ethnic boots digging its heels into the neck of Ethiopians. Its leaders and their relatives and friends siphoned out, (according to Transparency International, which it calls capital flight), more than 31 billion dollars that they stashed in foreign banks. The 27 years of the TPLF authoritarian ethnic divide-and-rule was hell on earth for Ethiopians. It is precisely this tragic experience that explains the rapid institution of democracy. Ethiopians were and still are determined to prevent forever the repeat of the TPLF regime.
Inevitably, the TPLF rejected the democratic transformation of Ethiopia. The reason is self-evident. The democratic change was inescapably going to put a stop to the TPLF’s absolute monopoly of political power and its reckless plundering of the wealth of the country. It retreated to its ethnic stronghold and started planning the overthrow of the young democratic government and plotted to re-institute its ethnic authoritarian and predatory system.
On November the 4th , 2020, TPLF forces treacherously attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Forces stationed in Tigray for the purpose of defending the Northern borders. Thus started the TPLF war against the young democratic regime of Ethiopia.
Given America’s incessant claim that she defends the values and practices of democracy everywhere, given her persistent claims that she stands firm in its rejection of political oppression everywhere, Ethiopians expected America to stand with them in their struggle against the TPLF’s efforts to re-establish the ethnic dictatorship Ethiopians have rejected democratically and categorically. Moreover, given America has sacrificed thousands of its citizens in its victorious struggle against the Blut und Boden politics of the Nazis in the 1940s, Ethiopians believed that America will stand firmly against the hideous TPLF reincarnation of Blut und Boden politics and support the new-born democracy in Ethiopia.
But it was not to be. For reasons Ethiopians cannot comprehend, America sided unreservedly with the authoritarian and ethnicist TPLF and its project to reinstall, once more, its ethnic divide-and-rule dictatorial regime.
At this time, we do not want to speculate why America and the West choose to defend the dictatorial and tribalist TPLF that practices Blut und Boden politics and is innately anti-democratic. However, one can say with certainty that America’s actions lay bare the lie and the hypocrisy of her oft-clamored defense of democracy.
Shame on America!
Let this be a lesson to all Africans. We Africans cannot count on the support of America and the West in our struggles for democracy. On the contrary, as we see now in Ethiopia, America and the West could become the implacable enemy of democracy and the enthusiastic supporter of authoritarian rule. We Africans have to count only on ourselves to create a democratic society.
Ethiopia is currently a shining example to Africans of an African country that is willing to fight to the last in the creation and defence of a democratic society. The American support for the authoritarian and ethnicist TPLF is a historical and a political lesson for we Africans. We Africans may be poor and technologically underdeveloped. But when it comes to building democracy, we have to count primarily on ourselves, as Ethiopia is doing right now in her struggle to save her democracy from the unholy alliance of America and the TPLF.
Shame on America!
The Alula Aba Nega Collective