By Staff Reporter
January 4, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) is holding its first extraordinary conference in 43 years to pass a final decision on the merger of the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and formation of the Prosperity Party.
1066 TPLF members and 150 observers, including representatives from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, are attending the conference taking place in a closed session in Mekele city of northern Ethiopia.
The two-day extraordinary conference which assumes the highest power of the party is expected to discuss current, regional and national issues and convert its bylaws linking it to the disbanded EPRDF and revise the party’s programs.
Speaking on the occasion, TPLF chair Debertsion Geberemichael disclosed the demise EPRDF and the extraordinary conference will decide on the fate of TPLF and set out its future political agenda.
He condemned the recently abolished Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) for disbanding the EPRDF which was established 30 years ago by the TPLF and EPDM (Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement, the former name of the ADP).
“What is being done by the federal government is undemocratic and violates the principles of EPRDF and the law of the country. This would take us not foreword but backward,” Debertsion said speaking about the Prosperity Party (PP).
“TPLF, which is an agent of change, remains firm and strong as member parties have disappeared in the process," he claimed.
According to Deberetsion, in one of the past meetings in which TPLF participated, EPRDF had decided to release political prisoners, creating an enabling environment for the press and an improved respect for human rights.
“What is happening now is quite the opposite. The right to self administration of regions has been violated. The promising political change has gone off track and leading the country to unitary government,” he said.
“Government and political party as well as government and religion are mixed up, creating serious problems in the country. In short, after the last meeting of EPRDF, the country has reached the verge of crumbling,” Deberetsion said
He said TPLF along with other similar political forces of Ethiopia would do all they can to avert the worrying situation.
Alem Geberewad, Political Affairs Coordination Head of the party said TPLF has passed through serious challenges since its 13th regular session and the extraordinary conference is happening when TPLF was betrayed by EPRDF member parties.
“EPRDF which has brought about far-fetched development to the country was disbanded in illegal and undemocratic ways and its ideology that served well the Ethiopian people is discarded,” Alem said.
Representatives of the Ethiopian Federalist Forum and Afar Democratic Party have conveyed messages of solidarity at the extraordinary conference.
Critics say the possibility for TPLF joining the Prosperity Party is very slim to none even though those people who are out of the TPLF circles are in favor of the merger and joining the PP.
The TPLF is blamed by many Ethiopians for instituting a federal system of governance based on language and ethnicity. The system favored regional parties rather than national parties, which were practically non-existent until very recently. Critics claim the current situation of disunity and instability is the fruit of that system.
The TPLF is also blamed for iron-hand rule inside its region, Tigray, where no one outside the TPLF orbit was elected to office in more than 30 years. Tigrayan opposition figures bitterly complain that they cannot operate inside Tigray due to harassment and imprisonment. Based on the latest developments, the situation is not going to get better any time soon it seems. In a recent statement, the TPLF chair, Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, said opposition groups will be considered as traitors and will be dealt with accordingly, indicating the start of a new phase of repression inside Tigray. He said, "you are either with us or against us." "Our campaign will start against them, the traitors," he added.
You can watch the full speech in Tigrigna given by Debretsion Gebremichael on Ezega Videos, and that of Alem Gebrewahid here on Ezega Videos.
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