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Saturday, 3 January 2009


A new Post "The Rise of an Eritrean Clique From the Womb of TPLF " was written on the January 3, 2009 at 4:55 am on "EthioSun".

From Our Archive 
By Abiy Araia
July 2001

The Formation of TPLF and the Defection of Meles in Eritrea

It was in January 1975 when the first TPLF combatants (Siye, Abay and
Awalom) set out to an EPLF training camp in Eritrea when they were
forced to make their stay in Asmara. At that time, the new Derg
government troops on the one hand and EPLF and ELF on the other were
caught up in streets battles in the city of Asmara.

The situation got worse when the TPLF combatants arrived in Asmara
because the Derg was conducting a house-to-house searches for any
infiltrators. The measure was catch and kill. The TPLF combatants had
taken shelter in one Tigrian woman's hotel. But as the condition got
worse, the owner of the hotel scared for her life and ordered the TPLF
combatants leave the place immediately. They left. Meanwhile, Meles
Zenawi (Wedi-Asmera) was spending time with his Eritrean friends and
had no problem of food and lodging problems. He had enough necessities
for himself. The others were hidden, had no food, water or light. For
days, they survived on tomatoes only, no bread no injera.

Given the tense situation and the grim consequences they would face if
they were caught by the Derg, the TPLF combatants decided that they
should break through the Derg security and go for training. They sent
their decision to Meles Zenawi so that he would join them. Instead,
Meles said he was not ready to take the risk and would stay behind in
Asmara. They tried to get him out of the city with them but Meles
resisted strongly, and even warned that he wouldn't like to be seen
with any Tigrian.

Without Meles, all the TPLF combatants (Seye, Abay, Awalom, Aregawi,
and Agazi) crossed the Derg's security checkpoints and reached their
destination: a training camp. In another direction, Yohannes
Gebremedhin (guerre de nom Walta, the brother of slain security
minister Kinfe Gebremedhin), Atsbaha Dagnew, and Shewit joined their
comrades at the EPLF training camp. However, the traitor Meles at the
most critical time abandoned the heroes of Tigray who founded TPLF,
and chose to stay behind in Asmara with his EPLF comrades.

He lived in Asmara or somewhere in Eritrea with EPLF for almost a year
and joined TPLF sometime in mid-1976. By the time Meles joined TPLF,
the heroes had finished their training, moved to Tigrai and founded
TPLF and strengthened their struggle in Tigrai. After a thorough
debate, the TPLF combatants allowed Meles to join the struggle. They
made a mistake to allow the defector to join TPLF. They allowed him
without any serious reflection on his defection and suspicion of his
contact with EPLF.

It was at that time that the mission of the agent began. During his
one-year stay with Shaebia, Meles had finalized his training how to
control all future activities of Tigrians and their organization -
TPLF. Moreover, when Shaebia sent its combatant by the name of Mussie
to TPLF, the contact was performed through Meles, and other
Tigrian-Eritreans who were living in Eritrea.

The other Tigrian combatants - Siye, Awalom, Agazi, Dagnew, Yohannes,
Ahferom, Kelebet, Seyoum and others numbering about 20 finished their
training and headed toward Tigrai, there was another Shaebia
combatant, Yemane Kidane (a.k.a. Jamaica) who was directly assigned by
Isayas Afwerki. Jamaica himself was openly saying his duty in TPLF was
to "follow up all the TPLF movement and to report to EPLF," and was
doing that as if he believed in the just struggle of the TPLF and
liked to stay with it." When I was a TPLF combatant, I myself asked
Jamaica on two different occasions why as an Eritrean chose to join
TPLF instead of ELF or EPLF. His response was the same: "I was sent by
Isayas to check on the ins and outs of TPLF movement and report to

(Coming Next: "Who Was Teclu Hawaz"? Teclu was the first brilliant
military and intelligence chief who created the security of the TPLF.
He was among the most beloved TPLF leaders and army commanders. He
invented the strong Public Intelligence (PI) System that kept TPLF
strong. He was profoundly opposed to Shaebia, as an intelligent chief,
he was aware of the mercenary role of Meles and his being a Shaebia
implant. In TPLF history, it was only the PI inventor Teklu Hawaz and
Kinfe Gebremedhin who successfully managed the security system of the
26-year-old TPLF. Both were murdered by Meles.)

When the sudden split of TPLF surfaced in March last year, however,
TPLF couldn't but take millions by surprise. Unexpectedly, it was
said, a storm of sharp differences wrecked the TPLF leadership. Are
the differences a sudden turn of events or the climax and final
eruption of a political volcano that had been lying low beneath the
surface for 18 years?

Though this and other similar questions should have been answered by
any one of the TPLF leaders, this writer would also like to
acknowledge that he had an opportunity to build very close ties with
TPLF leaders for quite a considerable period of time during the pre-
and post-1991 TPLF era right until TPLF's downfall under the
conspiracy of a class of Eritrean last year, and believes he has
adequate experience to identify the ground-breaking political
intrigues that squeezed the authentic Ethiopian blood and flesh out of
TPLF - leaving it in the hands of authentic Eritrean agents who shed
tears of blood when Ethiopian Defense Forces tore through Shaebia
trenches and advanced toward the Eritrean capital to punish the
criminals once and for all.

The genesis of the current crisis that struck open the hard-nut TPLF
in two mortal groups could well be traced back to 1982 - i.e. eight
years after TPLF was born in the wilderness of western Tigrai. Before
presenting the secret plot that was conceived in 1982, however, let me
introduce readers to the brief history of the formation of TPLF.

The first Congress of TPLF was conducted in 1978-'79. The Congress
formally elected:

a) Sebhat Nega - Chairman
b) Aregawi Berhe - Vice Chairman and Chief of the Military Command
c) Giday Zerazion - Deputy Secretary
d) Abay Tsehaye - Second Deputy Secretary
e) Seyoum Mesfin - Secretary of Foreign Affairs
f) Tewolde Woldemariam - Chief of Regional Organization
g) Gebru Asrat - Chief of Internal administration
h) Siye Abraha - Deputy Army Commander and other TPLF central
committee members led the organization from 1978 till 1983.


After reviewing TPLF accomplishments, the congress once again elected
the following as TPLF leaders: a) Giday Zerazion - Chairman, TPLF
b) Aregawi Berhe - Vice Chair and Army Commander
c) Sebhat Nega - Deputry Secretary
d) The rest held their previous positions, while alternate central
committee member and political instructor of TPLF cadres, Meles
Zenawi, was promoted to full central committee membership.

In an organization that was overflowing with renowned army commanders
who were feared and respected even by their enemies, Meles Zenawi and
Sebhat Nega.

It was here at the Second TPLF Congress of 1983 the major criminal
plot was conceived, and after 18 grueling years of secrecy, burst to
the fore in March last year. Though Meles was a junior, militarily
insignificant but an ardent political cadre for Eritrean independence
even prior to joining the central committee, no one had taken him for
his Eritrean passion seriously when he made it to the central
committee of TPLF.

In spite of Meles' persuasion, however, the political stand of TPLF on
the question of Eritrea was stated as: "TPLF takes the question of
Eritrea as the right of the Eritrean people for a just solution to
their problem. However, there is no historical prerogative for TPLF to
preoccupy itself with the Question of Eritrea and its resolutions."

Meles, however, continued to propagate for Eritrean independence, and
occasionally was heard lamenting and accusing the organization: "The
TPLF stand on Eritrea lacks clarity and is no different than even
opposing the Question of Eritrea altogether." Subsequently, using his
new leverage as a central committee member, Meles embarked on weaving
the threads of his conspiracy secretly.

As a central committee member, Meles quickly established warm ties
with the top individuals of the TPLF leadership. He cemented bonds
with Sebhat Nega, who was both former chairman of the organization and
had blood relations with. Sebhat Nega was a weak, self-centered
individual, and Meles was capable of using Sebhat as his partner to
advance his evil plans for the future.

The coordinated plot unveiled its first stage this way. One day Sebhat
Nega said he found a letter signed by Aregawi Berhe and Giday
Zerazion, and the letter read:

"Political cadre instructor and Central Committee member Meles Zenawi
and Deputy Politburo Secretary Abay Tsehaye are spreading malicious
ideas with a hidden agenda to destroy TPLF. The politburo believes
such a dangerous move should be nipped in the bud, and this should be
done by putting the two culprits to death."

Sebhat said he found the letter that bears "death punishments" in the
office of Giday Zerazion, and he said he had in private warned Meles
and Abay Tsehaye. To lend credibility to the political drama, Meles
was groomed to act in a very disappointed and shocked manner, like
conveying to others the message "how can I deserve this!"

One of those who were supposedly to be killed - in Sebhat Nega's plot
- was Abay Tsehaye who believed Sebhat and Meles Zenawi's hearsay
without an iota of doubt. In this case, the group with the hidden
agenda grew to three.

With the three being the main activists, the second stage of the
highly coordinated conspiracy was launched. The "information" was
secretly shared with the rest of the Central Committee members with
the exception of Giday and Aregawi. Subsequently, an insidious smear
campaign against the TPLF Chairman (Giday) and the Military Chief
(Aregawi) was launched without letup. The majority of the cc members
were made sure they were convinced, and since the remaining were
molded by Meles Zenawi, there was no problem at all that the
Sebhat-Meles scandal would fail from hitting its target.

Once they protagonists made sure that most central committee members
are on their side, a third regular congress, which normally convenes
every four years, was brought forward by two years, and Giday and
Aregawi - though ranking officials of the rebel organization - were
taken by surprise when they were informed that the third regular
congress would be held shortly. Giday and Aregawi were seen baffled as
they were not sure about what was going on behind them within the
seemingly stable organization. Apparently, the two (Aregawi and Giday)
had asked all members of the Central Committee why a regular Congress
was needed two years ahead of the four-year-term.

Their questions were expected, but an official response organized by
Meles Zenawi was already on the table. Meles Zenawi's official
response included the following points that he said dictated for the
untimely convention of the TPLF Congress:

a) Since we've been a clandestine Marxist-Leninist organization and
there is a need to go public that we are one of such;
b) Since a trend of being self-centered and "pragmatist" (Meles
inserted the English jargon "pragmatist" while speaking in Tigrinya)
is setting in the life of comrades and such dangerous trend is
threatening the noble ideals many comrades sacrificed their lives for;

c) Since some of us are guiding ourselves by the assumption that "no
one cares for the organization better than I do," and this
"imperialist" view need to be corrected;
d) Since our political stand with those political groups around us is
not distinct, and there is a need to be transparent and make our
political stance clear;
e) Those problems cited above were created because our organization
has no party of its own, and the need to found a party that would
guide us into the future.

Meles Zenawi also addressed the question that came from the two: "Why
was such an agenda hidden from us." Meles said there was nothing
secret about taking such a necessary action. He said the call for an
early convention of the Congress was necessitated by prevailing
circumstances that, if ignored, would endanger the survival of TPLF.
"It should be made clear," Meles added, "that these are plans I am
announcing to everyone of you for the first time."

Though the Congress started and a heated debated was conducted, the
plot the Meles side had woven was so pervasive that counter-arguments
coming from the Aregawi Berhe side failed to get any support. Most
members have been pervaded by the anti-Aregawi and anti-Giday Zerazion
smear campaign Sebhat Nega and Meles and their backers have been
conducting secretly for a considerable period of time.

Since most members had no idea of what was going on, they decided to
stick to what looked the 'majority' and this deprived Giday and
Aregawi - though instilled with clear political views - of support and
were rendered an easy prey to the political onslaught of the
Sebhat-Meles group. They stood without any one supporting them. The
congress decided for their removal. The accusations Meles poured on
Aregawi and Giday served as a solid foundation for the latter's smooth
removal on the one hand, and ensuring Meles' ascendancy to power, on
the other. All the while, there was an individual by the name of Teklu
Hawaz who was speaking out against the hidden agenda of the
Meles-Sebhat side. Teklu was a brave and brilliant person who stood up
and strongly warned that the Meles strategy was a secret design aimed
at grabbing power and there was no dictating environment that would
make the Congress accept all the changes Meles was propagating as a
necessity for the survival of TPLF. But Teklu was one voice and his
vehement opposition and ridicule to Meles Zenawi only landed him in
jail. Later, a statement was issued saying that Teklu Hawaz was killed
while trying to escape. The story of Teklu Hawaz ended there.

Once the powerful men of TPLF were successfully removed thanks to the
conspiracy of Meles and Sebhat Nega, the Question of Eritrea for the
first time started to dominate all agendas and TPLF issued its clear
stand on Eritrea. Meles has been seriously opposing TPLF for lacking a
clear stand on Eritrea. But after the purges and the fall of TPLF into
his hands, he realized a condition conducive to creating a policy
favoring Eritrea was in the offing. Accordingly, the Congress ended by
electing the following into the TPLF leadership:

1. Meles Zenawi - Secretary General, Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray
2. Abay Tsehaye - Deputy MLLT Secretary General
3. Siye Abraha - Commander of the Army
4. Tewolde Woldemariam - Political Commissariat
5. Seyoum Mesfin - Secretary of Foreign Affairs
6. Gebru Asrat - Chief Administrator
7. Sebhat Nega - Chief Social Services
8. Kinfe Gebremedhin - Chief of Security

July 1985: the Rise of Meles opposed by Eritrea's Shaebia

At the 2nd TPLF Congress, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front
(a.k.a. Shaebia) had expected that the Question of Eritrea would be
adopted as TPLF's principal objective, i.e. fighting for the secession
of Eritrea. However, the question received little more than a scant
attention and EPLF was resentful of TPLF, particularly the Chairman
Giday Zerazion and Aregawi Berhe, the two leaders who were fired at
the 3rd Congress that catapulted Meles Zenawi from an obscure and
junior political cadre into the first top of the TPLF leadership.

At the 3rd Congress, TPLF adopted the Question of Eritrea as its
Number One agenda. It was an outright victory for Shaebia. However,
Shaebia issued a statement opposing the dismissal of Aregawi and Giday
Zerazion. Such Eritrean condemnation of TPLF which had "elected" the
profoundly pro-Eritrea political activist and mentor Meles Zenawi
created the impression among the disgruntled members of TPLF central
committee members that Aregawi and Giday had closer ties with the
Eritrean group without their knowledge. In reality though the opposite
was true. EPLF was rest assured that the fall of TPLF into Meles
Zenawi's hands was a certainty that EPLF had its own Eritrean replica
in the name of TPLF.

It was a design that most TPLF fighters helped change their attitude
and trust Meles as their "Ethiopian" leader because Eritrea's Shaebia
has depicted him as Eritrea's enemy in through a statement the
Eritrean rebel group issued in "support" of the avowedly anti-Eritrean
TPLF leaders Aregawi Berhe and Giday Zerazion. Once the latter two
were purged, TPLF hoisted high the "Eritrean Cause" as its banner.
Meles Zenawi's motto became a warning to all: "Those who are able, let
them march forward (with Meles); those who can't, let them try to
catch up (with Meles); the resenting elements, let them face the
sword!" (the word "resenting" was a metaphor used for those who were
opposed to the new leader - Meles Zenawi - and must be eliminated by
the Stalinist sword Meles owned in the name of TPLF).

Thereafter, TPLF fighters and the people who live in TPLF-controlled
areas of northern Ethiopia lived chanting one slogan like a national
anthem: "MLLT trenches are unassailable!" The MLLT "anthem" was echoed
down the years until Meles ascended to power in May 1991, and all of a
sudden, MLLT disappeared like a rush.

Leaving the issue of MLLT here, let me take you to occurrences that
surfaced in connenction with the independence of Eritrea in 1991.
Without any preconditions, TPLF or EPRDF took the Eritrean issue as a
just cause and both gave an outright and overwhelming support for the
accession of the former Ethiopian province of Eritrea to a sovereign
independent nation.

According to EPRDF:

"Since we have passed through war, we know what war looks like. When
we say this, it should be made clear that there is war to crush
justice, and there is war to defend justice. Therefore, in the war
that is waged to take away justice, there is nothing to gain except
destruction. Outside of this, there are groups that say they know what
is best for the people and nothing should be decided outside of their
decision. We say to them: Good luck!"

Meles Zenawi openly declared that there is nothing to be done than to
support the secession of Eritrea in its entirety. Therefore, Meles
deployed Ethiopian resources and gave his full time for conduct of the
Eritrean Referendum. Once the TPLF-EPLF organized "Referendum" was
held, Meles finalized his second chapter of conspiracy and entered
another one.

The conspiracies being woven by Meles Zenawi broadened in their
dimension and became more complex. His successful midwifery of
Eritrea's independence engendered another set of problems. Eritrea was
born as an independent nation. But where is the economy that would set
Meles Zenawi's cherished child on its feet? Before Eritrea's problems
come to the fore and attract the attention of all, particularly of
Ethiopians, Meles designed a set of strategies. Here it should be
emphasized - despite the bluff of Eritreans who paint their province
as a treasure trove to this day - that Eritrea had nothing to rely for
its existence as a free country. Therefore, Meles' matter of urgency
was not to defend the over 130,000 Ethiopians that were thrown out of
Eritrea but how to give Eritrea an unbridled power to plunder
Ethiopian resources.

1. Meles and Isayas during their frequent meetings at the Menelik
Palace jointly crafted a policy that gives government support to
Eritreans in Ethiopia to conduct businesses so that in turn they would
become the solid ground for the economic growth of Eritrea. Such
policy set Eritreans on a broad daylight looting spree that wrecked
the businesses of Ethiopians as well as the livelihood of Ethiopian
tax payers.

2. The above situation was later given a legal cover as Ethiopia and
Eritrea entered into official agreements of co-operating each other
politically, militarily and economically. Such agreements were signed
in 1992/93. The "accords" were single-handedly offered to Eritrea by
Meles Zenawi on behalf of the "Government and People of Ethiopia."

Subsequently, politburo members of TPLF forwarded their opinions
stressing that since EPLF was an anti-democratic group, we are opposed
to such "bilateral agreements." Their objections were presented:

a) In 1995 when Eritrea invaded the Yemeni Hanish islands on the Red
Sea, Meles handed over MI helicopter gunships, MiG-21 fighter jets,
tanks and radar to Eritrea in compliance with the military agreement
Meles entered into with Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea.

b) Yemen has been one of the Arab financiers of EPLF during the
pre-1991 Eritrean armed struggle. If Eritrea invaded Yemen, its
long-time benefactor, argued the adversaries of Meles Zenawi, there is
no reason why Eritrea would not invade Ethiopia and use the arms and
ammunition it took from Ethiopia to invade Ethiopia. In this regard,
the most notable speaker who vehemently opposed Meles Zenawi was the
assassinated TPLF army general - Hayelom Araia. Siye, Gebru Asrat and
Woizerit Aregash Adane were also in the forefront of opposing Meles

After this, things were being pushed secretly on the part of Meles as
he continued to face rising opposition from the ranks of TPLF
leadership. Therefore, relying on the continued information and
intelligence services from Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega and Bereket
Simon, Eritrea's Shaebia used the following tactics to launch an armed
attack on Ethiopia:

1. To train a huge army of Eritrea under the pretext of mobilizing
young Eritreans for "development" purposes.
2. On the part of Meles: to advance an idea that there is no threat of
war from any side and the Ethiopian army should be greatly reduced and
the rest weakened.
3. On the part of Eritrea: To deploy the "development" soldiers into
war in Tigray and destroy whatever economic establishment existed in
that region.
4. On the part of Ethiopia (Meles): To advance the idea among the
TPLF/EPRDF leadership that Eritrea's aggression against Ethiopia
should be resolved by peaceful means and there was no need to resort
to a military solution.
5. By entering into negotiations with the U.N., Shaebia would then
reclaim as Eritrean properties those establishments the invader had
planned to take away from Tigray.
6. To destroy those TPLF officials who from time to time have stepped
up their opposition to Shaebia. And to destroy them, deceptively legal
covers were needed, and these covers that have been the mainstay of
Meles Zenawi were to eliminate his critics by using "corruption" and
"abuse of government power." Once the Ethiopian side of TPLF is
surgically cut out by the political scissors of Meles Zenawi and
Isaias Afwerki, what is left would be, to work together without
showing peace signs either from Addis or Asmara.

(Note: Wogahta reporters, who themselves have been in and close to the
TPLF leadership for several years, are now living hidden among the
Ethiopian people. Their newspaper was banned by the Meles-Sebhat
clique. EthioMedia is responsible for the Tigrinya-to-English
translation, and inserting introductory notes, headlining, photo and
photo-captioning during preparing the document for publication.)
June 5, 1998: The Ethiopian army was reduced to a level where it can
no longer defend the country from foreign invasion. Despite facts,
Eritrean war threats were dismissed as "baseless" allegations by Meles
Zenawi. Eritrean army helicopters cluster-bombed Ayder school children
in Mekelle, leaving over 50 children and parents dead. Photo shows
sobbing mothers who lost their kids to the Eritrean bombing raid. Four
years later today, after the tragic massacre, and a war that consumed
tens of thousands of lives, Meles and Isayas are still in power - and
trading "hostile" words at each other, while both working intimately
in defense of their "power" and Eritrea in their own respective ways.
To assume the two countries would be free from the threats of war and
famine would be naive as these two groups thrive by creating
environments of fear, war and destruction.


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