Your esteemed publication, The Elephant, has strong professional working relations with the Ethiopian Embassy in Kenya. We thank you for including Ethiopian interest stories in The Elephant and in this regard, it is of utmost importance that you publish opinion editorials that are predicated on objectivity, non-partisanship and professionalism, and not inflammatory diatribes. On 24 December 2021, The Elephant published an Op-Ed by General Tsadkan Gebretensae entitled Pertinent Issues on the War in Tigray. Instead of relying on facts and figures, the author resorted to publicizing an incendiary piece bordering on a war manifesto that is aimed at destabilizing not just Ethiopia but the Horn of Africa region. Apart from being utterly misinformed and deliberately misleading, the opinion piece goes against the facts on the ground. The author also single-mindedly and brazenly brushes aside the efforts of the federal government to provide humanitarian assistance to the people in the region that has cost more than 100 billion Birr.
The Ethiopian government has already started the process of rehabilitating the displaced people and reconstructing the areas affected by the conflict in the regions of Afar and Amhara. In addition, a National Dialogue Commission has been established by the government to facilitate a nationwide, all-inclusive dialogue in order to reach an agreement and bring a lasting solution to the major challenges encountered in the process of nation building. This was followed by the release of jailed opposition leaders and the dropping of the charges against them to ensure their participation in the reconciliation process. In this connection, the unfounded allegation that the planned national dialogue is “controlled and monitored by itself” is a hasty generalization full of self-fulfilling prophecy. Moreover, following the call of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the one million Ethiopians in the Diaspora to come home and support the government’s rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, tens of thousands of Ethiopians, people of Ethiopian origin and friends of Ethiopia are flocking to Addis.
Confusing the international community as it retreated to its ideological cocoon, and portraying itself as an angel of peace after its invading pawns were massively defeated by the Ethiopian National Defense Force that scored a huge victory over the terrorist group and was able to free all previously occupied areas of Afar and Amhara regions, is self-deceiving. Moreover, the TPLF does not have any moral ground to claim that “Abiy has made Ethiopia into a beggar” when the egregious human rights abuses and atrocities it has committed, and its destruction of critical infrastructure, have become apparent as we have seen in the recently freed Amhara and Afar regions. Depicting the Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy, a government elected democratically by more than 40 million Ethiopians in the first ever genuinely free and democratic election held last year, as “Abiy is implementing the blueprint of Isaias Afewerki” is utterly preposterous. It is a stale, self-defeating argument characteristic of a hypocritical, bloodthirsty cabal of power-mongering terrorists such as the TPLF and its affiliates.
While blocking all avenues for providing humanitarian assistance from the federal government and the international community, and using the vehicles of the World Food Program (WFP) for military purposes, it is self-contradictory for the TPLF to accuse the government of Ethiopia by saying that “Tigrayan people do not even receive humanitarian aid”. On the contrary, since November 2021, two rounds of flights have left Addis Ababa for Mekelle under the United Nations UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), 19 partners transported ETB40 million (in cash) to Mekelle for the administration and programme budget, 353 trucks with humanitarian supplies are on their way to the Tigray Regional State from Semera via the Abala Road carrying 9,693 MT of food and 1,680 MT of non-food items. In total, 116 trucks have reached Mekelle town. Wheat and other food and non-food products were stolen from government and private warehouses in Kombolcha and other regions that had been briefly overrun by the terrorist group. To make matters worse, the group invaded the Abala line, the gateway for humanitarian assistance to the Tigray region, and opened fire using heavy artillery, restricting aid shipments since 15 December 2021. Moreover, drawing parallels between the current situation in Ethiopia and “Syria, Yemen or Libya” is a factually erroneous and logically fallacious premise that lacks a proper understanding of Ethiopia’s state of affairs and historical resilience.
The article is aimed at propagating the terrorist group’s ulterior motives behind a false veil of concern for regional peace and threats to security. The TPLF is known for its predilection for agitation and propaganda as a means of concealing and twisting the truth and sowing chaos and confusion both at home and abroad. Moreover, while Tigray is an integral part of Ethiopia, portraying it as a separate entity, “an African nation” with its own “Tigray Defense Forces” is a very clear indication of the inherent character of the TPLF while simultaneously contradicting the author’s own assertions in favour of the junta as defending “the principles of the Federal Constitution of Ethiopia”.
In sum, it is ironic of the author to depict a terrorist enterprise hell-bent on endangering the constitutional order and threatening peace and security, not just in Ethiopia but in the entire Horn, while alleging that “Abiy. . . is fighting to overthrow the Constitution.” While orchestrating ethnic strife and fomenting genocidal sentiments both at home and abroad, especially among the Ethiopian diaspora, the author’s mendacious, at times ad hominem arguments are futile efforts at scapegoating the government for the TPLF’s wanton destruction and for defending the sovereignty and constitutional order of a nation that has a track record of commitment to the maintenance of international peace and security, both in principle and in practice.