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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

ARENA's first meeting

Tedla Asfaw
Ato Gibru Asrat led ARENA party held its first meeting in Mekele after it got legal recognition five months ago from TPLF/EPRDF's cadres. The Tigray administration call the meeting illegal and send a letter to Ato Gibru warning him of his illegal activities.
Ato Gibru argued on VOA Amharic(April 1) that he did not brake a rule by calling public meeting as was alleged on the letter rather this was an internal organizational affair complying with the rule of TPLF/EPRDF that mandated  a meeting within six months of a newly legalized party.
TPLF/EPRDF cadres in Mekele have threatened members of ARENA and also smeared their names as collaborators with "Neftegnas, the enemy of Tigreans" since the legalization and the official warning of an illegal meeting is not a surprise.
What surprise for me is for for the TPLF cadres allowing ARENA to conclude its two day meeting with out physical violence. One of the reasons for this might be  fearing the masses who are fed up of TPLF's rule who brought them economic hardship and  no hope.
However the regime will deny ARENA its right to call a mass rally by giving flimsy excuses and to arrest its leaders if they organize such rally and that is the purpose of the letter from Tigray administration after the conclusion of the two days meeting by ARENA.
This is also true for the new formed Kinijit/Andenet party led by Birtukan Medekssa. "You will be legalized do  not worry,however,if you try to mobilize your supporters and come for a rally you will be locked up" that is what TPLF/EPRDF means legalizing "opposition parties" and at the same time criminalizing public gatherings.
ARENA or other political parties will be on  collision course with TPLF  if they are  mobilizing their supporters and if political parties are not allowed to do that they should not call themselves political parties.