The May 2005 election was supposed to go according to the plan. The TPLF would allow the election, as long as it controlled the entire electoral process. The loyal opposition would begrudgingly go along with that. The people, whom the election was supposedly for , would remain on the sidelines as cheerleaders. The donor countries would congratulate all three- the TPLF, for allowing the election, the loyal opposition for not setting unreasonable pre-conditions, such as demanding the election to be free and fair, and the people for accepting the outcome, whatever that be. The election day came. The TPLF declared itself, the winner. The loyal opposition cried foul, and appealed to the conscious of the donor countries to intervene on its behalf.
Then, the unexpected happened. The people went against the plan, and revolted. Things got out of hand. This was something the loyal opposition was most afraid of, and had hoped to avoid at all cost. The civilized and loyal opposition was taken over, by an uncivilized and disloyal multitude.
What was until then hidden beneath the surface came out to the open. The nexus of interest between the donor countries, the TPLF and the loyal opposition, became glaringly visible . By all means, the uprising had to be dealt with. The TPLF unleashed the Aghazi f force against the defenseless population, while the loyal opposition made sure the much anticipated and promising nationwide strike did not take place.
The May 2005 uprising was historical in a sense, that not only did it show the people’s resolve to take matters into their own hands, but also, what the loyal opposition was composed of. It showed, the leaders were no Ghandis or Mandellas, but hustlers who found their way to embellish their resumes at the nation’s expense. The uprising outed them, as weaklings of the regime. it ended their political theatrics as opposition leaders.
To begin with, the loyal opposition was an incoherent group hastily patched to save the “Ethiopia is moving on a democratic path” narrative of the donor countries. Its leaders were either at one moment bona fide members, friends and/or functionaries of the TPLF regime. They were vetted, because they were deemed safe and submissive. They were there to defend the narrative. So, it was not surprising, when the uprising came, they began to unravel. Some joined the parliament while the others looked for a way out of the country. In other words, it was the uprising and not the TPLF that fractured them. .
Since then, much has not been heard from the parliamentarians, but the latter, under a new brand name, Ginbot 7 have come out swaggering at the TPLF with vengeance. The latter are vowing to do everything in their power, including armed struggle, to get rid of the regime. They are ratcheting their rhetoric, through their website, and their media, ESAT, that they are already causing panic within the TPLF. According to them, the TPLF is passing many sleepless nights, worried about them, pre-occupied in trying to assassinate them.
This is quite puzzling, since there is nothing in their history that suggests this turnaround of attitude towards the TPLF could happen. This was a regime that they served loyally, up until their departure, and shielded it from its possible collapse. This was a regime, in response to their loyalty, treated them with kid gloves, and when their tenure expired, sent them to a safe exile, for a comfortable life. If they needed to blame someone , they should blame the uprising, and not the TPLF. Which prompts us to ask, do they really mean what they say? Are the Ginbot 7 leaders really after the TPLF ?
The Ginbot 7 leaders have changed one master by another, and they want this move, to be called patriotic. They want their servility to the EPLF, to mean, anti-TPLF. In a way, they are doing what they did best, in the past, under different brand names (The Horn of Africa, EPDM, Keste Demena)- serving,, whoever hires them.
Ethiopians know by now that not all anti-TPLF groups are anti-TPLF in the truest sense of the term. Groups like the EPLF, OLF, ONLF may have their own grudges, but, they don’t see the fall of the TPLF in their strategic interest. The TPLF may always be greedy, and never satisfy their needs, but it is the best bet they have in Ethiopia, at least, for the moment..
The EPLF and TPLF may be adversaries, they have even gone to war, but their deeply held common interest far outweighs that. What is fundamental to both is keeping Ethiopia fractured and bantustanized, which means working together to eliminate if possible, or else, to weaken the threat coming from the forces of unity. No matter how much the Isayas regime detests the TPLF, it is not that stupid to allow pan-Ethiopian movements operate freely in its territory. That is why it collects groups like OLF and Ginbot 7-not to threaten the TPLF, but rather, to use them as its conveyor belts to its strategic interest.
Actually both the EPLF and TPLF know they have a compelling reason to forgo their differences and make amends. Both know they are sitting on a time bomb that could explode on them at any moment. Though not verified, there is already a chatter from Sudan of a secret meeting held between both initiated by their long time ally, Al. Bashir. If it is the case, it should not come as a surprise.
The Ginbot 7 leaders may insist otherwise, but they did not join the EPLF to fight the TPLF. As is clear, from their history, they have no reason to hate, let alone to fight the TPLF. The TPLF has done nothing to them to deserve their wrath. Their brief imprisonment, compared to the countless many Ethiopians who are languishing, was no less than a vacation.
They joined the EPLF to keep on doing what they were doing under the TPLF to serve the anti-Ethiopian campaign run by the TPLF and the EPLF. It matters little for which group (the EPLF or the TPLF) they work. It is even doubtful, either group cares that much.