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Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Tigray State President's interview

Tedla Asfaw
Ato Tsegay Berhe President of the State of Tigray was interviewed by cell phone on the Ethiopian Forum for Political Civility on broad issues and I would  like to concentrate on the Kunama opposition party, Ato Gebru Asrate's new "Arena" party, Union of Tigreans for Democracy and Sovereignty(UTDS) and the state of tension with Shabia of Isayas.
Ato Tsegay alleged that tlhere is a strong anti-Shabia Kunama movement in Eritrea which has a strong support in the Tigray Kunama region and if this is true for Kunama how comes TPLF is surprised to see support given on the eastern part of Ethiopia where Somalis of Ethiopian region will stand in solidarity with fellow Somalis across the border?
Is it not true that Kunamas in Eritrea were fighting Shabia while Ato Tsegaye Berhe and his movement sided with Shabia killing and injuring many Kunams before the Independence of Eritrea and if the allegation is true that Kunams in Eritrea have legitimate grievances and their armed insurrection is understandable and coming to Tigray for safety should not be exploited by TPLF for cheap political propaganda.
When it comes to Ato Gebru Asrat's "Arena" party(UTDS)Ato Tsegay assured us that it has no support in the Tigray State. How do you know Ato Tsegaye?. They have not yet opened office in Tigray and we will not know if the party will have any influence until then and we are not also sure if they will be allowed to operate freely.
The Tigray State has been under one party TPLF and Ato Tsegay is proud of the achievements of the region in development and when he was asked why some farmers are now moving to south and end up in cities as "beggars" he answered that every one has a right to go to any part of Ethiopia for whatever reason.
I agree the right of people to move freely however if all is well people will not move to end up in cities where they have no place to stay and no income to support themselves and their  families.
When it comes to Shabia/Isayas Ato Tsegye declared that if there is no confrontation Shabia will lose and if there is war it will  lose too.
When there is peace he said we will concentrate on development and we will change the lives of people which will anger people across the border and rise up against Isayas and what I do not understand is that what is the reason that Isayas could not also develop his region. Is it for the lack of capital or skilled labor which fled the country after the independence that is not different than the many skilled Ethiopians which are fleeing their country everyday and I wonder how Ato Tsegay thinks of this as new only  to Eritrea.
When it comes to confrontation he boasted of the Humera region which is separated by Tekeze River and Zela Anbesa few hundred meters from the Eritrea's garrison are vibrant areas of Tigray and go on without any fear and if it comes to war he said that will be the end of Shabia and that is the deterrent.
I was surprised by the clear quality of the interview and am not at all sure if that is also seen as one of the TPLF development fruits becuse neighboring Somalia is leading our region in cell phone usage and the quality of the sound maybe topographical.
Tigray has to be opened for all Ethiopians freely and for that to happen Ato Gebru Asrat "expedition" by his new "Arena" party is watched by all of us and if he succeeds the end of TPLF in Tigray State will be near if he failed "Arena" has to change course.
When it comes to TPLF/Melese and  Shabia/Isays both regimes are unelected and unpopular the only difference is that TPLF is backed by USA  while Shabia is without support and the so called "development" Ato Tsegye talking about, if is it true,  in Tigray would have materialized across Mereb  were Isayas accepts the leading role Melese was given by USA and serve as a junior partner.
If war breaks in North it will only to correct this relationship between these two regimes and the sad thing is that thousands will be victims on both sides and the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea should look inwards for their problems and avoid unnecessary human and material cost to keep unelected tyrants in power to lead a miserable life.