The 1976 TPLF Manifesto: TPLF’s “Republic of Greater Tigray”

The Tigray People Liberation Front, TPLF had published their organization’s manifesto in February 1976, the booklet was printed in Sudan. The TPLF manifesto, clearly defined who a Tigryan is, the land that the TPLF considers as Tigray, and the final destination of the TPLF. The following comprises some important contents of the manifesto.

a) A Tigryan is defined as anybody that speaks the language of Tigrigna including those who live outside Tigray, the Kunamas, the Sahos, the Afar and the Taltal, the Agew, and the Welkait.

b) The geographic boundaries of Tigray extend to the borders of the Sudan including the lands of Humera and Welkait from the region of Begemidir in Ethiopia, the land defined by Alewuha which extends down to the regions of Wollo and including Alamata, Ashengie, and Kobo, and Eritrean Kunama, the Saho and Afar lands including Assab.

C) The final goal of the TPLF is to secede from Ethiopia as an independent “Republic of Greater Tigray” by liberating the lands and peoples of Tigray.

This being the manifesto of TPLF in 1976, the question is how much of this program is implemented so far?

The implementation of the manifesto had two important stages classified as a first stage of re-demarcating Ethiopian internal boundaries and a second stage of acquiring Tigryan lands from Eritrea and secede as an independent nation. Accordingly, the following important events took place;

• After TPLF succeeded in holding power in Ethiopia, they have been working hard to change the internal regional administrations of Ethiopia at large and of Tigray in particular. As a result, they have imposed dictation on the Ethiopian parliament and succeeded in redefining the borders of different nationalities within Ethiopia. The boundaries of Tigray were defined exactly according to what was registered in their manifesto. They did this by annexing the lands of Welkait Humera up to the borders of Sudan from Begemidir province and Wollo’s Raya including Ashengie Alamata and Kobo. In order to justify the demarcation, they had to give up something in return and the lands closer to the Taltal and Afar regions of Ethiopia in eastern Tigray were temporarily sacrificed until the second stage of the project takes place. This important re-demarcation of Ethiopian internal boundaries resulted in the successful completion of the first stage of forming “Greater Tigray” later to be converged into the “Republic of Tigray” after the second stage is completed.

• After completing the annexation of “Tigryan” lands from the provinces of Begemidir and Wollo, they moved ahead to compIete the annexation of portions of Eritrea to finalize the objectives of the manifesto in practice as the second stage of their project. Zalambessa is the closest one can get to the Eritrean Saho region and Adimurug in Bada. Obviously the temporarily sacrificed eastern Tigray region would now be simultaneously acquired in this second stage of the project since there would be no organized force that could stop the Weyanes inside Ethiopia. By claiming these lands and forcibly annexing them, the manifested “Democratic Republic of Tigray” would be practically reaIized and then of course cessation from Ethiopia would follow.

• AccompIishing the dream inside Ethiopia was easily performed by simply dictating terms in the parliament since TPLF administrates Ethiopia, while means to finish returning the port of Assab would be accomplished by the Ethiopian army, financed and supported by the Ethiopian economic and human resources. Patriotic Ethiopians are expected to side with TPLF in hope of probable return of Assab to Ethiopia, while the truth is that the port city, if recaptured, would not be Ethiopian but of the would be new nation of “Greater Tigray”. This is so because the second stage of the project would have been completed at this point, making it the right time for the TPLF to secede. If there is anything that might delay the declaration of the republic after this, it would have been the time required to consolidate their control of Eritrean portions by sheer force, further using and exploiting innocent and patriotic Ethiopian peoples expectations and support. This support would again be betrayed in the final stages of the creation of the republic.

• While the imaginary manifested program is completed this way, the economic ploy had another direction. This direction was focused at transporting capital and material as much as possible from the rest of Ethiopia to Tigray for future use when the “Republic” is established. This would require for TPLF staying in power in Ethiopia until the plan is well implemented. The implementation of this economic program is crystal clear for any body who has recently traveled to Tigray. The TPLF/Weyane regime has been heavily investing Ethiopian capital in Tigray such that the region and the city of Mekele are the fastest growing in the country. Mekele is infested with so many new buildings which have no immediate contribution to the Tigryan economy. These are empty high rises ready to be used in the future when the republic which would include Assab is fully established. Besides the fact that numerous buildings have been built in Tigray at the expense of the Ethiopian economy, the following are few indicatives to that effect as to how much has so far been done in last 15 years of their power.


A• An international airport in Mekele with no immediate importance in terms of accommodating international guests and travelers since the city has yet to grow both financially and infrastructurally. Being this the fact, however, the erection of this new and expensive airport was based on two objectives. The short term objective is to help the TPLF’s war efforts against Eritrea by bombarding the same into submission without having to worry about air distance using the Ethiopian air force from Tigray. The long term objective was to move the entire Ethiopian air force to Mekele and convert it to the air force of the republic, and at the same time to use the international airport for civil aviation of the Republic of Greater Tigray after declaring independence from Ethiopia. Two more international airports have been completed in Tigray, again with no immediate importance in terms of accommodating international travelers.

B• Three colleges in Mekele namely Engineering, Medical, and Business. These colleges are complete in terms of infrastructure for future use when the republic is established.

C• The Cement, Textile, Electricity Dam, Marble, and Pharmaceutical factories in Tigray which costed hundreds of millions/billions of clean Ethiopian money. The port of Massawa was used to sneak materials inside Tigray in the name of “Ethiopian imported goods”, and used exclusively for Tigray without the knowledge of government offices in Addis Ababa.

D• The multiple high rising office buildings empty for now but to be soon filled by the Weyane bureaucrats in independent Tigray.

E• The luxury residential homes and spacious buildings such as those known by “Debri Hills” in the out skirts of Mekele for possible embassy offices and residence of diplomats.

D• Refer to the extensive list of companies owned by TPLF with the majority having their head office in Tigray.

Politically and Strategically

The above being few of the massive investment of Ethiopian economy in Tigray, their political and strategic plans were made to be effective when the group of top TPLF leaders moved their offices from Addis Abeba to Mekele. The movement coincided with the completion of the first stage of implementing the manifesto so they can closely monitor and design the implementation of the second stage of the project. In the process, they have been effectively preparing a “strong army” from within Tigray. The same TPLF group (the TPLF Coalition Committee) dictates terms on the entire Ethiopian issues. The central government of Ethiopia listens to the central committee of the TPLF residing in Tigray which has been working under the confusing philosophical banner of the “Marxist Leninist League of Tigray”. This group is instrumental in the process of completing the second stage and the frame work for the future government of the “Republic of Greater Tigray”.

After controlling Assab and other planned lands at the expense of Ethiopian human and material resources, the TPLF group would only then complete the goals of their impractical manifesto fully. As easy as it seemed to them, they will finally move towards seceding from Ethiopia as an independent nation, leaving Ethiopia in confusion, uncertainty, and extreme danger of ethnic conflict, and Eritrea under a government that can be easily controlled by their authority. Some experts say they had planned to leave Ethiopia without a central government for Ethiopian major ethnic groups such as the Amharas and the Oromos to figure it out, and for them, gaining time to consolidate their “Republic”. At this point, the dream “the Republic of Greater Tigray” would have been put in practice and Tigray would secede from Ethiopia with Assab. In their plan Assab would be Tigryan and never Ethiopian.


We encourage all Ethiopians to prove the validity of the contents in this article by requesting the manifesto from other political organizations. This dangerous manifesto has been revealed by the TPLF leaders in February 1976 during the initial stages of the organization. It is important for every Ethiopian to be informed about this issue and also raise the level of awareness and know what exactly is going on in our beloved country. Insecure and completely disorganized Ethiopia would be the result of this crazy manifesto if implemented. Materially, the north eastern Ethiopia including the entire Afar and Taltal regions and the already taken portions of Wollo and Begemidir, and politically, a chaotic and uncertain future that can lead to any thing one can possibly imagine are the results of the TPLF/Weyane’s manifesto for Ethiopia. It is important to point the fact that the Tigryan people are as victims of this plot as any other Ethiopian. The responsibility of this mess is directed towards few fascist TPLF leaders who recklessly and selfishly betrayed their own people’s struggle of 17 years. They forgot the bitter struggle in the past and became the same type of chauvinists and oppressors they fought against in the past.

Article by Dereje Tariku.

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