"Comment on Demise of the TPLF regime in the process of election 2010"

By Robele Ababya / April 14, 2010

A few historical accounts of power of the people in crushing or shaking the foundation of totalitarian governments, no matter how colossal, are briefly presented in this piece of writing. The examples under the captions below are meant to dispel any fear of the much vaunted propaganda that the TPLF regime has five million registered party members, loyal special security organs and army. At the end of the day the regime shall collapse because the poor and hungry Ethiopian peasants will be unable to feed the huge army, security agents and party operatives; moreover the immoral flow of funds to the brutal regime will dry up. The disgraceful fall of Meles is inevitable much sooner than later for the people are utterly fed up  and increasingly intolerant of his kleptocratic minority regime where 95% of top positions in the army and most posts in the politbureau are held by close relatives, friends or confidants of his ethnic group comprising only 8% of the Ethiopian people.     

Collapse of the USSR in 1991

The military might of the defunct USSR and its monolithic Communist Party machinery crumbled in the face of the invincible search for freedom. Many of us witnessed how the meltdown of the structure of economic and financial systems, domestic and foreign policy between 1985 and 1991 threw the then Superpower into disarray leading to its eventual downfall in 1991.

After years of building up of military and security organs at the expense of domestic development, economic growth was at a standstill. Unsuccessful attempts at reform, a stagnant economy, and war in Afghanistan led to a general feeling of discontent.  Greater political and social freedoms, instituted by the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev created an atmosphere of open criticism of the Moscow regime. Lack of foreign exchange reserves to purchase grain profoundly influenced actions of the Soviet leadership.

The power of the people brought about a relatively peaceful change despite:

  • All-pervasive Communist Party with  membership numbering tens of millions
  • Young Communist League comprising 95% of the youth of the USSR
  • Secret Security organ (KGB) dreaded by citizens
  • Military power second to none on the globe
  • Command economy directly controlled by the Party with natural resources second to none
  • Heavy industry second to none for producing military hardware and industrial machines

It was a humiliating debacle for a Superpower which was the first to put the Sputnik in orbit and launch a space vehicle flown Cosmonaut Uri Gagarin in orbit around the earth. The Superpower failed all because it did not deliver freedom and democracy that people need as much as basic necessities such as shelter, food and security.

The Party decayed due to internal intrigues, greed, corruption, fake elections ad infinitum. It could not deliver on its promises. It vanished like a mist by the heat of anger of people denied their freedom for decades.

Point #1: The same fate of collapsing as that which befell the defunct USSR is awaiting the Stalinist TPLF regime, which is notorious for its heinous crimes including genocide, betrayal of vital national interests and mismanagement of the economy in the last 19 years of its misrule.

Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in the (Peoples Republic of China (PRC) were a series of demonstrations in and near the Square in Beijing in the PRC beginning on 14 April 1989. Led mainly by students and intellectuals, the protests occurred in a year that saw the collapse of a number of communist governments around the world.

The protests were sparked by the death of a pro-democracy and anti-corruption official, HU Yaobang, whom protesters wanted to mourn. By the eve of Hu's funeral, 100,000 people had gathered at Tiananmen Square. The protests lacked a unified cause or leadership; participants included disillusioned Communist Party of China members and Trotskyites as well as free market reformers, who were generally against the government's authoritarianism and voiced calls for economic change and democratic reform within the structure of the government.

Point #2: The protest lacked a unified cause or leadership and therefore failed to evict the mammoth communist party from power, but shook its foundation significantly and alerted leaders to expedite reform. Having drawn lessons from the collapse of the USSR, the Chinese Communist Authorities sent in tanks to crush the demonstration brutally much as the TPLF regime did in the aftermath of the Ethiopian election 2005.

The quest for change is rocking China. The reformist leaders since the death of Chairman Mao are listening, more so after the heavy handed crackdown on protesters at Tiananmen Square. The interview of Premier Wen Jiabao with Fareed Zakaria of GPS is indicative of the promising direction that Chinese leaders are taking. The Premier acknowledged the heavy imbalance of wealth distribution affecting 800 million peasants and that this will be addressed. Regarding political reform, the Premier said: 1) gradual approach to democratic election; 2) improved legal system and independence of the judiciary; 3) openness of government to oversight through independent media are prerequisites to the development of democracy. More interestingly the Premier underlined that the highest measurement of ethics and morality is justice. Emphasis added. He stressed that economic growth at the expense of ethics and morality will not be permitted by the government.

The fall of the USSR has surely served them as a lesson to avert complete collapse at least for the time being. But the heavy-handed crack down on protesters will never be forgotten. The silent unrest is a matter of time before it will explode once again unless democratic reforms pledged by the Premier are expedited.

The Mengistu regime

Mengistu squandered vital resources including gold reserve inherited from the Imperial regime. In its last gasping period, the regime was acutely short of foreign currency badly needed to buy arms and strategic goods needed to fight wars in several fronts. He became a puppet of the USSR at first and then forged friendship with the late Kim IL Sung of North Korea and isolated his regime. He paid lip service to economic reform in the dying days of his regime.

Point #3: Mengistu committed political suicide by rejecting economic reform advised by the Western world as well as by its former mentor, the defunct USSR.

The Meles regime

 "Ethiopians can never be reconciled to a dictatorship that maintains itself by brute force alone." Prof Al

The atrocious records of Meles and cohorts include: 

·         Willful dismembering of Ethiopia thus leaving a country of over 80 million landlocked cutting her economic lifeline and vulnerable to external aggression

·         Dividing Ethiopia along ethnic-linguistic lines - a venomous recipe for social unrest, instability in the Horn of Africa region, bad example to other African countries, and an impediment to the objectives of the African Union

·         Naked aggression of Somalia culminating in the death of thousands & dislocation of millions

·         Committing act of genocide against the Anuak people of Ethiopia

·         Denying private farmland ownership to peasants, which constitute 85% of the Ethiopian people. Peasants live in slavery in the serfdom of the ruling regime which is fooling the world that it is the midwife of democracy

·         Daylight robbery of votes at the election of 2005; selective killing of over 200 citizens in cold blood and incarcerating tens of thousands of mostly young protestors.

·         Selling fertile Ethiopian farmlands to unscrupulous foreign ‘investors’ while landless Ethiopian peasants are suffering in abject poverty

·         Ceding land to the Sudan through a secret deal

·         Rampant unemployment and soaring cost of living

·         Usurping all the pillars of democratic institutions such as independent press, judiciary,  election board, army, police,  civil  society, system of private land ownership

Point#4: The colossal damage inflicted by the TPLF regime on our national interests and its heinous crimes are unprecedented in the long history of Ethiopia. The time to say enough is enough to the brutal regime is long overdue.


In the case of the defunct USSR unsuccessful attempts at reform, a stagnant economy, and war in Afghanistan led to a general feeling of discontent. Lack of foreign exchange reserves to purchase grain profoundly influenced actions of the Soviet leadership.

The death of a pro-democracy and anti-corruption official, HU Yaobang, sparked the huge protest at Tiananmen Square. The call for economic change and democratic reform failed because the protests lacked a unified cause or leadership. Nevertheless, the protest shook the foundation of the Communist Party forcing it to expedite economic change and contemplating democratic reform in terms of, as Premier Wen Jiabao put it: gradual approach to democratic election; improved legal system and independence of the judiciary; openness of government to oversight by independent media.  More interestingly the Premier underlined that the highest measurement of ethics and morality is justice. He stressed that economic growth at the expense of ethics and morality will not be permitted by the government.

But the perception of China meddling in the internal affairs of Ethiopia such as helping in the jamming of the Voice of America radio broadcast to Ethiopia raises a critical question of the sincerity of the Premier in particular and Chinese policy in general intertwined with voracious appetite for natural resources of Africa so much needed for export-driven economic growth of China.  

The Premier and his government should be reminded that they are cooperating and doing business with a kleptocratic TPLF ruling regime in Addis Ababa – a notorious regime with no ethical or moral standard.

There is no need to repeat crystal clear brinkmanship of tyrant Meles. Opposition forces should take serious note of the failure of the protest at Tiananmen Square due to lack of a unified leadership and hasten the inevitable demise of the TPLF regime.

This is the last time to save Ethiopia through peaceful struggle. As the Amharic saying goes “ሌባ ላመሉ ሊጥ ይልሳል”. The old saying roughly translates to: A thief licks dough as a habit.

So daylight robbery of votes by Meles once again, would be a propitious time to hit his regime with an all-inclusive and well-coordinated might for the theft would mean an open invitation to such course of action.

Release Judge Birtukan and all political prisoners in Ethiopia!


The writer can be reached at robele_ababya@yahoo.com