Weyane: Local name for Ethiopia's current ruling TPLF party
Tigrai: Northern province of Ethiopia, TPLF's home province
The Manifesto of the TPLF on
"Republic of Greater Tigrai"
and The Current Border Conflict Between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
To Any Ethiopian And
We would like to share with you what we have learned about the cause of the Ethio- Eritrean conflict that has been puzzling Ethiopians, Eritreans and the international community. We know for sure that the border conflict was motivated by some evil tendencies in part of the Weyanes beyond the thoughts and expectations of any peace loving Ethiopians and Eritreans and we believe this information will clarify most of the confusion behind the conflict by revealing its real causes and effects.
The current conflict is nothing but a direct function of an attempt of implementing the February 1976 TPLF manifesto, which clearly defined who a Tigrian is, the land that the TPLF considers of Tigrai, and the final destination of the TPLF. The following comprises some important contents of the manifesto.
a) A Tigrian is defined as anybody that speaks the language of Tigigna including those who live outside Tigrai, the Kunamas, the Sahos, the Afar and the Taltal, the Agew, and the Welkait.
b) The geographic boundaries of Tigrai extend to the borders of the Sudan including the lands of Humera and Welkait from the region of Begemidir in Ethiopia, the land defined by Alewuha which extends down to the regions of Wollo and including Alamata, Ashengie, and Kobo, and finally the lands of Eritrean Kunama which includes Badme, the Saho (close to the conflicting area of Zalambessa), and Afar lands including Assab.
C) The final goal of the TPLF is to secede from Ethiopia as an independent "Republic of Greater Tigrai" by liberating the lands and peoples of Tigrai.
This being the manifesto of the TPLF in 1976, the question is how much of this program is implemented so far, and what relationship it has with the existing Tigrian instigated "border conflict" with Eritrea. We will try to answer this as follows.
The implementation of the manifesto had two important stages classified as a first stage of re-demarcating Ethiopian internal boundaries and a second stage of acquiring Tigrian lands from Eritrea and secede as an independent nation. Accordingly, the following important events took place;
1 ) After the Weyanes succeeded in holding power in Ethiopia about 7 years ago, they have been working hard to change the internal regional administrations of Ethiopia at large and of Tigrai in particular. As a result, they have imposed dictation on the Ethiopian parliament and succeeded in redefining the borders of different nationalities within Ethiopia. The boundaries of Tigrai were defined exactly according to what was registered in their manifesto. They did this by annexing the lands of Welkait Humera up to the borders of Sudan from Begemidir province and Wollos Raya including Ashengie Alamata and Kobo. In order to justify the demarcation, they had to give up something in return and the lands closer to the Taltal and Afar regions of Ethiopia in eastern Tigrai were temporarily sacrificed until the second stage of the project takes place. This important re-demarcation of Ethiopian internal boundaries resulted in the successful completion of the first stage of forming "Greater Tigrai" later to be converged into the "Republic of Tigrai" after the second stage is completed.
2) After completing the annexation of "Tigrian" lands from the provinces of Begemidir and Wollo, they moved ahead to compIete the annexation of portions of Eritrea to finalize the objectives of the manifesto in practice as the second stage of their project. As everyone knows, Badme is one of the war fronts in the Ethio-Eritrean conflict and is a Kunaman Iand inside Eritrea. Zalambessa is the closest one can get to the Eritrean Saho region and Adimurug in Bada and the war front across the borders of the Assab region is Eritrean Afar. Obviously the temporarily sacrificed eastern Tigrai region would now be simultaneously acquired in this second stage of the project since there would be no organized force that could stop the Weyanes inside Ethiopia. By claiming these lands and forcibly annexing them, the manifested "Republic of Greater Tigrai" would be practically reaIized and then of course cessation from Ethiopia would follow.
3) AccompIishing the dream inside Ethiopia was easily performed by simply dictating terms in the parliament since the Weyane administrates Ethiopia, while means to finish annexing the Eritrean lands and the port of Assab would be accomplished by the Ethiopian army financed and supported by Ethiopian economic and human resources. The most amazing ploy here is the fact that ambitious Ethiopians were expected to side their government in hope of probable reannexation of Assab by Ethiopia, while the truth is that the port city, if recaptured, would not be Ethiopian but of the would be new nation of "Greater Tigrai". This is so because the second stage of the project would have been completed at this point, making it the right time for the TPLF to secede. If there is anything that might delay the declaration of the republic after this, it would have been the time required to consolidate their control of Eritrean portions by sheer force, further using and exploiting innocent Ethiopian peoples expectations and support. This support would again be betrayed in the final stages of the creation of the republic.
4) While the imaginary manifested program is completed this way, the economic ploy had another direction. This direction was focused at transporting capital and material as much as possible from Ethiopia to Tigrai for future use when the "Republic" is established. This would require for the Weyanes staying in power in Ethiopia until the plan is well implemented. The implementation of this economic program is crystal clear for any body who has recently traveled to Tigrai. The Weyane government has been heavily investing Ethiopian capital in Tigrai such that the region and the city of Makalle are the fastest growing in the country. Makalle is infested with so many new buildings which have no immediate contribution to the Tigrian economy. These are empty high rises ready to be used in the future when the republic which would include Assab is fully established. Besides the fact that numerous buildings have been built in Tigrai at the expense of the Ethiopian economy, the following are few indicatives to that effect as to how much has so far been done in last 7 years of their power.
A) An international airport in Makalle from which the TPLF initiated bombarding the Eritrean capital in the recent dispute. This airport, of course, has no immediate importance in terms of accommodating international guests and travelers since the city has yet to grow both financially and infrastructurally. Being this the fact, however, the erection of this new and expensive airport was based on two objectives. The short term objective is to help the Weyanes war efforts against Eritrea by bombarding the same into submission without having to worry about air distance using the Ethiopian air force from Tigrai. In actuality that is exactly what happened in the recent bombardment of Asmara before the airport was made out of use, at least temporarily with some fully loaded Mig-23 fighter jets and a helicopter gunship by surprise attacks of the retaliating Eritrean air force, whose existence as a full-fledged force was previously unknown by the poor intelligence of the Weyanes. The long term objective was to move the entire Ethiopian air force to Makalle and convert it to the air force of the republic, and at the same time to use the international airport for civil aviation of the Republic of Greater Tigrai after declaring independence from Ethiopia.
B) Three colleges in Makalle namely Engineering, Medical, and Business.
These colleges are complete in terms of infrastructure for future use when the republic is established.
C) The Cement, Textile, Marble, and Pharmaceutical factories in Tigrai which costed hundreds of millions of clean Ethiopian money. The port of Massawa was used to sneak materials inside Tigrai in the name of "Ethiopian imported goods", and used exclusively for Tigrai without the knowledge of government offices in Addis Ababa. The exact amount of material entered Tigrai through the port of Massawa can be found from the port authority of the port city.
D) The luxurious hotels such as the Axum hotel and those including on the hills overlying the city hospital which are equipped with modern rooms and swimming pools.
E) The multiple high rising office buildings empty for now but to be soon filled by the Weyane bureaucrats in independent Tigrai.
F) The luxury residential homes and spacious buildings such as those known by "Debri Hills" in the out skirts of Makalle for possible embassy offices and residence of diplomats.
G) The new monument in Makalle that shows the Tigrian struggle which costed Ethiopia around 30 million Bir (the cost is not an exact but an estimated figure from people within).
Politically and Strategically
The above being few of the massive investment of Ethiopian economy in Tigrai, their political and strategic plans were made to be effective when the group of top Weyane leaders moved their offices from Addis to Makalle. The movement coincided with the completion of the first stage of implementing the manifesto so they can closely monitor and design the implementation of the second stage of the project. In the process, they have been effectively preparing a "strong army" from within Tigrai that can finish the job against Eritrea. The group includes Siyie Abraha, Abai Tsehaie, Ghebru Asrat and etc. and the same group dictates terms on the entire Ethiopian issues. The central government of Ethiopia listens to the central committee of the Weyanes residing in Tigrai which has been working under the confusing philosophical banner of the "Marxist Leninist League of Tigray". This group is instrumental in the process of completing the second stage and the frame work for the future government of the "Republic of greater Tigrai".
After years of preparation and deception, the second stage of the project finally was initiated by the Weyanes by creating a scenarion of "Eritrean invasion". At this point, full military and logistic preparations have been made to finally assume they can beat the Eritrean forces and invade their land. taking advantage of good faith and trust of the snoozing Eritreans, massive armaments have been smuggled into the heart of Asmara with people trained to operate the same. The plan was to push inside Eritrea from the conflict zones and completing the job of overthrowing the Eritrean government from within by thhe clandestine personnel they infiltrated Asmara. The confidence they had at the beginning of the conflict reflects this preparation. This is so because the Weyanes declared an "unconditlonal withdrawal" from "Tigrean lands" or for the Eritrean government to be forced out of the same. Simply speaking, they made such an arrogant and a miscalculated decision that denied them negotiating flexibilities, as can well be seen today. There are critical documents that show how exactly the Weyanes created this scenario. Without going into details, when the Weyanes started to slowly dismantle Eritrean local governments in the currently disputed lands, they well knew that the present situation would definitely take place. They knew that Eritreans would react to their actions particularly when they shot dead some Eritrean observers sent by the government to study how much areas were invaded by the Weyanes in Badme short time after their invasion of Adimurug inside Eritrea. They knew well that Eritrea would not withdraw from its lands unconditionally as the Weyanes tried to impose. They definitely wanted war and the plan worked exactly the way they designed it. As a preliminary matter, there are letters between the president of Eritrea and Mr. Meles Zenawi after the Weyane infiltration into Eritrea took place first at Adimmrug and then at Badme. These hand written letters have signatures of both leaders and are currently revealed to the public in the latest Eritrean magazine "Hwyet". Any body interested to see the letters can access the information from Eritrean offices since the magazine is currently on sale.
Leaving this subject aside, everybody knows now about the war in the region and it would be timely to discuss some important issues at this point. Whether we believe it or not, the TPLF has already lost the war against Eritrea, at least in the first and most decisive round. Years of preparation to accomplish the second phase of the project and form an independent Tigrai failed unexpectedly for the Weyanes who have now become victims of their own evil designs. They were badly defeated irrespective of the fact that they shamelessly lied to the Ethiopian people of killing about 11,000 Shabias. They have nothing, not even an inch to show for the ridiculous Shabian casualty they told the Ethiopian people and the whole world, inflicted by their forces. To the contrary, the Eritrean forces are now some 12 miles deep into the Tigrian territory as a buffer zone in the Zalambessa front with all of Badme and Assab zones completely under their control. The front lines are now reasonably quite and uncontested. After several boasts and attempts, the Weyanes finally seem to have realized that they were only dreaming and they have no capacity both organizationally and militarily to implement the dream of "republic of greater Tigrai" with Assab as its major port. After refusing to peacefully resolve the problem and boasting a lot on how they will teach Eritrea a lesson, they have now become the ones that have taken some serious lessons. Instead of using the lessons they learned not to make another as such and leave the Ethiopians alone, they are now talking about postponing the war and of course the pain of people until this coming winter is over. According to Eritrean military experts, the Weyanes have lost their dependable forces, meterials and possibly generals already in their inferior performance at the war fronts, and the chances they can equate that strength from the scratch is very minimal. According to the Weyanes, however, the fight is going to be protracted and long and in the final analysis the Eritreans will lose. They dont seem to know time is running against them and that they can not continue to fool anybody any more. Nor do they seem to understand that they either will soon have solved the problem peacefully or else face a more decisive war that could probably result in their total downfall and unwanted effects to both countries. The actual truth is that they can run but cant hide now, and very soon, they will have to chose one of the only two alternatives they have.
Finally, by temporarily ignoring international legal issues, let us see what would have happened if the Weyanes had indeed defeated the Eritreans? Would they have annexed Assab to Ethiopia as most innocent Ethiopians think?
The answer seems to be simple. If they had succeeded in the war against Eritrea and had captured Assab and other Eritrean lands at the expense of Ethiopian human and material resources, the Weyanes would have completed the goals of their impractical manifesto fully. As easy as it seemed to them, after limited time they wouldve then taken the final move of seceding from Ethiopia as an independent nation, leaving Ethiopia in confusion, uncertainty, and extreme danger of ethnic conflict, and Eritrea under a government that can be easily controlled by their authority. This is so because they would have created a mess in Ethiopia so that they can relax in their southern borders with the Amharas while only concentrating on the opposition coming from Eritrea. What a perfect plot for the "smart" Weyanes!. Some experts say they had planned to leave Ethiopia without a central government for Ethiopian ethnic groups such as the Amharas and the Oromos to figure it out, and for them, gaining time to consolidate their "Republic". At this point, the dream "Republic of Greater Tigrai" would have been put in practice and Tigrai would secede from Ethiopia with Assab just about the end of this century. Assab would be Tigrian and never Ethiopian and then they would live in "peace".
This article is based on facts to educate Ethiopians and Eritreans by a group of Eritreans for peace who have no political ties with the government of Eritrea. By all accounts, the contents of this article could justifiably be considered biased by any one who has a chance to read it. Further, it might also be considered as an Eritrean government propaganda. Irrespective of what one thinks, we have presented the information thinking it will help clear away the confusion in most of us about this meaningless war, and to show any one interested in the issue the real motives of the same. We encourage Ethiopians to prove the validity of the contents in this article by requesting the manifesto directly from the Weyanes or other organizations who can provide the same. In our part, we are trying to do the same and hopefully will be able to make it available for everybody interested soon. This dangerous manifesto which is causing this tragic bloodshed between our peoples is revealed by the TPLF in February, 1976 during the initial stages of the organization, and we think Ethiopians and Eritreans are entitled to the information. It is in particular more important to Ethiopians since we seriously believe that they have to raise the level of awareness on the issue and know what exactly is going on behind their backs. Insecure and completely disorganized Ethiopia is the result of this crazy manifesto if implemented. Materially, the north eastern Ethiopia including the entire Afar and Taltal regions and the already taken portions of Wollo and Begemidir, and politically, a chaotic and uncertain future that can lead to any thing one can possibly imagine are the results of the Weyanes manifesto for Ethiopians. As for Eritreans, the plot is well contained and we think it will have to be over soon one way or another so that we can leave a better world for the children of Ethiopia and Eritrea in coming generations. The writers are also firm believers of the fact that the Tigrian people are as victims of the plot as any Ethiopian and Eritrean can be. We have nothing against the Tigrian brothers and sisters and we hope our friendship will be normal again in the future. The responsibility of this mess is directed towards few expansionist TPLF leaders who recklessly and selfishly betrayed their own peoples struggle of 17 years. They forgot the bitter struggle in the past to achieve the present peace of our peoples and became the same type of chauvinists and oppressors they fought against in the past after they started living at large as Ethiopian leaders.
Finally, whether Ethiopians admit it or not, we strongly believe Eritreans and Ethiopians are strategic friends or allies specifically on the issues causing the current conflict. In light of the above, we encourage Ethiopians and Eritreans to compare the current Tigrian Administrative Zone and the old boundaries of Tigrai, and see for themselves the newly annexed areas of Begemidir and Wollo and the Weyanes attempt to do the same in Eritrea and to find out how reflective of the manifesto their actions were.
Peace and prosperity to the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea.