The Tigrean-Led Ethiopian State, Repression, and Terrorism



By Prof. Asafa Jalata, University of Tennessee – Knoxville

The minority Tigrayan-led Ethiopian government[ii] is attempting to give a final solution for a large political problem that has existed for several centuries—the relationship between the Oromo and their Amhara-Tigrayan colonizers. In this way, it is trying to establish a Tigrayan hegemonic state both in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Since 1992, the Meles government has been focusing on brutally attacking the Oromo national movement led by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and on robbing the economic resources of Oromia in order to enrich Tigrayan elites and their collaborators and to specifically develop the Tigrayan region.

To achieve its political and economic objectives, the regime primarily uses its puppet organization known as the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) which was created and is today controlled by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF); the OPDO is led by Tigrayan cadres, elements of Oromo speaking colonial settlers, and opportunistic Oromos who would do anything in exchange for luxurious lifestyles. Using the OPDO, the Meles government has attempted to construct a political façade of a supposed self-rule and a multinational government and to give an Oromo face to its colonial policy and control over Oromia.

While murdering and terrorizing millions of Oromos in Oromia, the Meles regime has established a political relationship with the governments of Kenya, Djibouti, Sudan, and some Somali warlords in order to prevent outside support and sanctuary for the Oromo national movement and to extend its terrorist activities into the Horn of Africa. Western powers, particularly the United States, powerful European countries, as well as China have been supporting the political and economic policies of the Meles regime. This paper will first identify and explore the political and economic objectives of the Meles regime in Oromia.

Second, it will explain how the Meles regime puts forth a discourse of democracy and development while it engages in state terrorism,  gross human rights violations, and the robbing and impoverishing of the Oromo and others in order to enrich Tigrayan elites and their collaborators. Third, this paper will explain why this current Ethiopian state is against peace and development just as the previous successive Amhara-led Ethiopian governments were, and the possible outcomes of such policies. Finally, it will points out the danger that the minority Tigrayan state elites have created in an attempt to establish a minority hegemonic state in the complex and multinational society of the Horn of Africa.

[i]Paper presented at the Horn African Americans for Peace First Annual Human Rights Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 13, 2008.

[ii]This regime was emerged from the Tigrayan population, which is estimated between 5 and 7 million. The Oromo are the largest ethnonationl group and estimated at 40 million of the 80 million people in Ethiopia, and seconded by the Amhara ethnonational group. The previous successive Ethiopian governments were mainly the domains of the successive Amhara ruling groups. Since 1991, the Tigrayan state elites have been dominating and controlling the Ethiopian political economy.



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