The same thing in American English
Yohannes Aberra, PhD
Dr. Aklilu Habte was the president of Haile Selassie 1st University (HSIU) in the early 70s. There was a strong demand from students to restore their union (USUA). In one meeting of student representatives with the president two representatives got the chance to present the case. One of them spoke in a typically Ethiopian English pronunciation. When the second representative presented the demand he spoke fluently. The reaction of the president to the second speaker was funny. He said “This is the same thing in American English”. I hope my readers have got my point from the outset. It is a tragic truth in the political life of many nations in the past, present and in the future that dictators are overthrown by those who pretend to be democratic, but a bit later become dictators worse than their predecessors; princes overthrow monarchs accusing them of being oppressive and cruel. After a few months or years of promises and mass deception there emerges a new tyrant out of the “kind prince loved by people”.
Choosing leaders has become just like the statistical chance of drawing the right ball from the sack full of balls having different colors. Unlucky people always have the wrong leaders (weak and selfish) every time they help them to the throne with the ballot or with their lives. One of such are the people of Tigray. In the last 50 or more years what they have been getting is leaders who are either busy implementing interests external to their hopes and aspirations or busy with their own personal or group interests oblivious to the wretched lives the people are leading. Tricking or scaring people into supporting them endlessly has become a methodology of the leaders of Tigray in place of delivering by walking the hackneyed talks. Disillusioned as the people of Tigray have become by the failure of TPLF’s promises for which the bills were paid in blood, the ruling party has become self-serving and determined to stay in power as long as it can mange to do regardless of what the Tigrean populace thinks about it. If TPLF is to be replaced it must be replaced by an elected leadership in a free and fair election. The people of Tigray have the right, which has become long overdue, to freely elect their leaders without persuasion, without pressure to conform, without invisible coercion, without sentimental attachment, without kinship ties, and without shortage of alternatives.
No political group should be certain about its ascent to power until the will of the people is heard loudly and clearly. If some party or leader has no respect for the people it may honestly be a dictator instead of engaging in pretentions about elections. If a party or politicians can be sure that the results of elections will certainly be in their favor, there is no need for secret ballots. Secret ballots mean that no one knows the end result until the votes are counted. It is the most undemocratic thing to do to make full preparations on the part of parties to rule before the election results are known. What we observe among politicians in Tigray most notably in the TPLF is the almost absolute certainty that it will be elected every time elections are held. In this case elections are simply photo opportunities for the world public to “admire and approve” and help deceptive legitimacy. By the way the urge of the TPLF while the whole world has sunk under COVID 19 may most likely be its desire to continue in power whether or not there is adequate turn out for elections. There may be some harm done by COVID 19 but the people of Tigray will be there ready to elect after COVID-19. If the TPLF is ready to compensate the people of Tigray for its long neglect and denial of democracy to the deserving people, it will have to wait until COVID-19 is clear and until the people have the mood to think clearly. Unless it is some kind of hypocrisy no one has the power to remove TPLF from its governorship of Tigray until the next elections. I don’t think there is any need to remove TPLF until the next nationwide elections. If TPLF is re-elected in a free and fair election, free from manipulation, no one has the right to deny it the legitimacy to rule. It is not what we or others feel about TPLF; what matters is what the people decide to do. If the next election is to be democratic enough there is no need to hurry. There are more years ahead to enjoy democracy if its is genuinely implemented!!
This morning I read a report about what the PP chief of Tigray Ato Nebiyu Sehul is quoted to have said. If this is not a false report, as we have grown to be suspicious of posts on the social media, then we have a case here that has to be cleared from its inception. This was the content of the quote: Ato Nebiyu claimed that “…his party (PP) has the legal, moral, and popular legitimacy” to replace TPLF in September, in governing Tigray, when the tenure of TPLF expires. I was caught off-guard by such a bold statement which seems to be unaware of the right of the people to decide who should be the legally, morally, and popularly legitimate ruling party in Tigray. In my previous article on AigaForum I was open hearted to PP in Tigray because what the people of Tigray need is anyone from anywhere who can deliver. BUT my support to PP as another alternative to TPLF and other opposition parties was based on what the will of the majority of the people of Tigray will be on the ballot. It never occurred to me that the PP in Tigray will make such kind of unwarranted claim before the will of the people is heard. It is really unfortunate for the kind and brave people of Tigray not to get what they deserve. TPLF has been endlessly claiming to have “legal, moral and popular legitimacy” to rule Tigray. Ato Nebiyu’s claim is “the same thing in American English”.