By Goodluck Musinguzi- Kampala

Tigray People’s Liberation Front Crossed a red-line when it attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces in the early morning of 4th November 2020. This made the Federal government of Ethiopia to intervene in order to uphold rule of law in the region.

H.E. Ambassador Alemtsehay Meseret, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Uganda addressed Ugandan journalists about the Ethiopian current situation and explained that her government is in full control to restore law and order in Tigray region.

She explained that the national army which is supported by the population is using military force to restore order in the Tigray and that most parts have been brought back to normal life despite international press which has exaggerated the conflict and smeared the government.

Speaking from the Embassy in Kololo, Kampala, Meseret explained that the  Federal Government of Ethiopia has been enforcing and implementing government’s position on the agreed law enforcement measures in Tigray region, following the attack of the Northern Command of the National Defense force of Ethiopia by the TPLF clique.

Objectives of the Ongoing Law Enforcement Operations

The Government’s law enforcement operation in Tigray region has three clear and specified objectives.

The first objective is to disarm the TPLF junta that the clique armed itself illegally to breach the peace and security of the country.

Second, it has an objective to restore legitimate administration to Tigray region in which a decision to put an interim administration is passed by the House of Federation; Accordingly, the Council of Ministers adopted a regulation “Concerning the Provisional Administration of the Tigray National Regional State.” and a chief Executive appointed to it.

The third objective is to bring the perpetrators to justice in which the operation will hold the criminals who caused an attack to the Defense force as well as criminals who used Tigray as a safe haven for escaping charges of high crimes, including terrorism, torture, extra-judicial executions, and corruption.

What is the Background of this conflict?

Ethiopia has undergone a plethora of changes and reforms in the political and socio-economical flora since the new leadership assumed offices on April 2018.

Immediate after assuming the premiership, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a number of reforms including releasing all political prisoners, inviting both armed and unarmed opposition parties, who were in exile, for peaceful and democratic competition, reforming the National Defense force and the intelligence service, breaking the two decades impasse with Eritrea and made a rapprochement.

However, the TPLF clique was unhappy of the reforms as the clique lost the unfair benefits they used to get by unlawfully. For the last two years and half, TPLF clique fueled clashes along ethnic and religious lines in many parts of the country in order to derail the democratic transition and to make the country ungovernable so that the clique would return to its unaccountable position.

To achieve this objective, the TPLF criminals colluded with parties or individuals who were willing to destabilize the country.

The TPLF violated the FDRE constitution and claimed to have adopted its own electoral law, established its own electoral commission, and orchestrated a sham and illegal election in which it won all the seats in the Regional Council and claimed to establish a new administration.

(Due to Covid-19, during the time a postponement of election was ruled out per constitutional interpretation of the House of Federation though now the country will hold election after some months). Furthermore, the TPLF clique openly declared that they would not comply with laws, directives, and regulations, among others, to be enacted by the federal government after 05 October 2020.

In addition, TPLF recalled all representatives from Tigray in the Federal House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of Federation after October 05, on grounds that the Region would not recognize any of the federal state organs.

Although the above acts of the TPLF clique could result in the intervention of the Federal government in order to uphold rule of law, the government chose restraint from confrontation with the belief that differences would be resolved over dialogues and negotiations

The Visit of the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister paid a visit to Uganda on 16 Nov, 2020 and met H.E. Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda.

Some media claimed the visit was intended for requesting mediation for the conflict, however, the claim was false. The visit is a part of high level visits to leaders of neighboring, Nile Basin and Great Lakes countries in order to explain the ongoing law enforcement operation in Tigray  and to convey messages of our prime Minister as well as for discussions of other bilateral issues.

The discussion with President Museveni went well and an understanding was reached on the situation. The president also expressed his hope that the government of Ethiopia would end the operation in Tigray as soon as possible and peace.

The room for negotiation and mediation was closed and dried up by the TPLF itself for the last two years and half; when the government has shown extreme patience and openness for resolving the differences, TPLF worked for the opposite by instigating clashes in different parts of the country.

TPLF has tried to internationalize the conflict by trying to drag Eritrea to the conflict and by making the people in Tigray being afraid and to cause refugees to neighboring countries. Good signs for this is that TPLF fired a rocket to Eritrea, made fabrics/clothes of Eritrean Army and, destroying infrastructure like bridges that made harder for humanitarian supplies.

The TPLF is doing all this with the hope that perpetrators will escape from being liable to justice by internationalizing the conflict.
The Ambassador emphasized that the Federal government (Ethiopia) was compelled to intervene in the region to maintain peace and order, following the attack of the National Defense forces.

“The Law enforcement operation has been ongoing with three clear objectives and it will stop when the objectives are achieved” she stressed.

“Furthermore, the operation is being carried out in consideration of protecting civilians although the TPLF made civilians to be afraid and made them cross to Sudan. The government is working to bring back those who fled to Sudan and to reintegrate them in the areas being freed by the National Force and it is also working with UN agencies and other partners for humanitarian supplies.

In addition, high-level dialogues with leaders and officials of different countries is to disclose the very genesis and nature of the conflict and the consequent law enforcement operations by the government of Ethiopia” Meseret added.

The Embassy also explained that the conflict is entirely internal and is not whatsoever linked to the Eritrean government.
She was franked by Dawit Gidyew the Second Secretary, Public Diplomacy and other top Ethiopian Embassy officials.

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