OPINION | By KUNGU AL-MAHADI ADAM
Today, dozens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered in Addis Ababa’s Meskel square to show support for the country’s military in its fight against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighting in the Tigray region.
Many with placards, the demonstrators heaped praise on Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed as well as the national army. They matched to the square as they sung songs of liberation and calling for the international community including media to desist from engaging into the internal management of Ethiopia.
For starters, TPLF was among the many armed groups that fought the Federal Military Rule in the 1970s and 1980s, a communist in Ideology and establishing an Independent Tigray was its ultimate goal.
Later in the downfall of the Military regime, TPLF in coalition with other Ethnic based parties formed EPRDF and ruled the country for 27 years.
Under TPLF, millions of Ethiopians had suffered widespread political repressions, economic as well as social marginalization for twenty seven years.
However, after waves of popular protests that swept across the country and internal struggles within the ruling party for almost two years, Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018.
Soon after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office deep political and economic reforms were implemented in in Ethiopia in order to overcome the multi-faceted and complex socio-political and economic problems of the country.
Among the others, the Government of Ethiopia released political prisoners and journalists and invited exiled political parties and armed groups to take part in peaceful political contestations.
The new leadership did not take any retributive measures against TPLF as a vengeful punishment as some people continue to wrongly claim.
However, angered by the unexpected loss of the disproportionate influence and undue privilege they enjoyed, powerful figures within the TPLF led the clique into self-isolation and a senseless blame game.
They heavily involved in planning and implementing violence and conflicts seen in the country since the coming into power of PM Abiy Ahmed.
TPLF have shown the world that if it does not maintain its grip on power entirely, it is ready to disturb the country at the cost of millions of innocent lives.
In fact, TPLF officials were boastfully telling their foreign sympathizers that they would go for a war if a blockage is placed on their way to maintaining hegemony.
The Prime Minister is on record for having severally expressed his deepest desire that the government did not want to hear a single gun-shot in Tigray, and indeed this desire had captured the whole conviction of the Ethiopian government until everything had to change on Wednesday, 4th of November 2020.
The unfortunate political development and conflict in Tigray was not the interest of the government, the public and Abiy Ahmed if it was not obligated by the blatant attack of TPLF on the National Defence force of the country.
TPLF’s intention was to break the chain of command of the Defense force and acquire over 80% of the National Army’s possession, which was in the region, and change the leadership of the country forcefully.
No country in the world would allow that, that an armed group is given green light to attack a military facility of a functional state and walks scot-free.
Thanks to the swift response and effective law enforcement and primary support of the Public, the danger posed by TPLF was neutralized within three weeks, all the leaderships of the Liberation Front either captured, destroyed or were made to hide in the caves.
Since then, the international community including media and humanitarian organizations has painted a narrative as though the Ethiopian authorities orchestrated the ugly developments in Tigray.
Many international media in what seems to be a syndicated move to undermine efforts of the Ethiopian authorities to restore normalcy in the Tigray region have alleged arbitrary arrests, detention and what they are referring to as “near genocide” by the Abiy administration.
The claims are false and are only aimed at advancing the agenda of the armed group, whose point of disagreement is not anchored on principle but from the anger of their unexpected loss of influence in matters of the country.
The government of Ethiopia has taken every necessary effort to provide support to its citizens affected by the operation in the region.
Figures from authorities indicate that Government’s support has so far reached more than 4.5 million people in the region in two rounds.
While the international community has been consistently proclaiming the need for assistance, all of the partners’ support from the international community accounts for only the 30% of the assistance in the last eight months.
The Federal government has been covering the lion’s share of 70% contrary to the repeated echoes in the media of the international community to access the humanitarian line.
It should however be noted that the TPLF has been using every available tactic to get the attention of the international community including blocking of the humanitarian assistances, preventing Farmers from harvesting, Killing Humanitarians staffs, using civilians shields to attack the Military.
Today’s peaceful demonstration has emphatically reemphasized the trust the people of Ethiopian have in the country’s leadership and the army in protecting them as well as restoring normalcy in Tigray area.
I am actually surprised that a number of leading international media are choosing to misreport about the recent unilateral ceasefire by the Ethiopian government. In their agenda of advancing terrorism activities of the armed group, they claim that the Ethiopian army was defeated.
The government of Ethiopia, understanding the evil efforts of the TPLF to keep the pains of people in the region for its survival purpose, declared a Unilateral Ceasefire and the National Army was ordered to leave the whole of Tigray not defeated as claimed in the media.
This was done deliberately mainly to benefit the whole people in Tigray to access humanitarian support and to allow the farmers use the rainy season, which started this month and goes up to September, to plough their land safely by avoiding sporadic clashes with TPLF.
The TPLF group’s being a national threat, is neutralised and the group is incapable of fighting the Ethiopian army.
There is need for the international community to give Ethiopia chance and support to restore normalcy in the Tigray region because it is capable and it has proved so. Misreporting and misrepresentation of facts, blatant accusations against the Ethiopian government and taking sides by the media in the situation in Tigray, will not solve the problem but rather, worsen it.
The writer is a Ugandan journalist with passion for current African affairs.