A rally that took place in Tigray regional state’s capital, Mekelle a week ago was staged by anti-reformist faction, the opposition leader and head of Tigray Democratic Coalition Party (TAND), Aregawi Berhe told Voice of America’s Tigrigna service.
“The situation in Tigray is confusing. On one side, there is a faction that seem to support the political reform in the country. On the other, there is a faction that opposes the reform, favouring rather to maintain the last 27 years oppressive system,” Aregawi said, referring to the once-powerful members of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) who dominated the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in power since 1991.
Forced to attend rallies
“No faction has emerged yet as winner and conflicting messages are coming. If you look at the demonstrations organized last week, I could tell you that people were forced to attend rallies by door-to-door instructions. We can’t say it was the interest of people. Even the slogans that were heard, such as “Respect the Constitution!” were not the concerns of the people. What exactly does that mean? It was a call for the perpetuation of the past repressive system, those retrogressive years from increasingly anguished members of the party.
“They (TPLF leaders) were the one who were breaking the law, the constitution. They were the one who were making arrests without court order. Today to hear them talking about respect of constitution and the rule of law is real perfidy. The truth is their motive is only to undermine and topple the changes happening in the country,” the opposition leader said referring to the changes brought about by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, member of the Oromo ethnic group, who has pushed reforms and new courses since taking power on April 2018.
When asked about the repeated claim from TPLF old guards about their leading role in bringing about the current reform in the country, head of TAND tended to disagree, saying “most of the TPLF officials are not simply interested in the reform, rather they are taking position against it. Under the excuse of guarding the constitution,they are engaged in many damaging activities,” he said.
Aregawi said the claim about ethnic targeted attacks against Tegaru in some regions is indeed true and that should not be condoned by anybody. “But if we ask who the people behind those attacks are, it is easy to understand that they are narrow minded groups, who have been radicalized by the actions and injustice committed by the previous regime. In fact, instead of solving the multifaceted problems in the country, TPLF has been using opposition against the system to rally Tigrayans behind it. So you have got to put all this in perspective.”
Tigrayans are not particularly selected
Asked about the assertion only Tigrayans are being targeted for human rights abuses and corruption arrests, Aregawi responded saying investigating the veracity of this claim should be the work of journalists. “But from what I know, people from diverse ethnic groups who have embezzled and abused power are being arrested. Tigrayans are not particularly selected and presenting it as such is distortingthe reality. If you are interested, I have lists of names of suspects who are fromTigray and other regions. I would be willing to present it,” he said.
Aregawi said while TPLF officials who are “ranting about respecting constitutions”, in reality are refusing to hand over corruption and other suspects to the federal government, in what could come only as “a preposterous and ridiculous attempt to run away from justice”.
About the airing of documentaries on national televisions focusing on the allegations of corruption and human right abuses, Aregawi said he saw nothing wrong with it except some inappropriate identification of suspects by people interviewed on the documentaries associating with ethnic origins. “That should be corrected and we are asking for modifications in that regards.”