Why is America against Democracy in Ethiopia?

OPINION – By The Alula Aba Nega Collective

For democracy activists in Ethiopia, America’s support for the anti-democratic TPLF and her animosity towards democratic Ethiopia is incomprehensible. To use Churchill’s words, it is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”  

Ethiopians have struggled against the ethnic supremacist TPLF dictatorship for 27 years. With the overthrow of the TPLF government in 2018, Ethiopia embarked on a tortuous and difficult path to institutionalize democracy. The rapid pace of the democratic transformation is a testimony to the intensity of the desire for democracy in Ethiopia. 

What Ethiopia has achieved must be told, again and again, because American politicians, NGOs, and media seem to be determined to forget if not erase from history Ethiopia’s great democratic accomplishments in a span of less than a year. 

Thousands of political prisoners were released from TPLF prisons. The secret TPLF torture centers and prisons that dotted the country were exposed and closed. Individuals and political organizations that were forced into exile under the TPLF regime were invited to regain the country and participate in the democratic process. Freedom of the press and academic freedom, which had disappeared under the TPLF—remember the journalists who were imprisoned, killed, and exiled; the 42 university professors that were fired summarily and forced into exile—were established. A peace agreement was signed with Eritrea, ending a senseless conflict, though the agreement was vehemently opposed by the TPLF. All these in less than a year!

On the heels of these rapid changes, the judiciary’s independence was recognized, the rule of law established, and an independent National Election Board set up. The political space was opened to all those who wanted to participate in the elections. All participants were allowed to campaign freely and the logistics of the elections were created and put into service openly. In 2020, Ethiopia had her first democratic elections in her history. Thus ended the “abiyotawi democracy” of the TPLF—an ethnic divide-and-rule scheme masquerading as democracy—and its mythocratic elections in the style of the Soviet Union.  

The TPLF, which is ideologically, organizationally, and politically anti-democratic rejected the democratic transformation of Ethiopia and holed up in its ethnic enclave, and started plotting the overthrow of the new democratic Ethiopian government. Since two-thirds of the weapons of the armed force were positioned in Tigray, because of the Ethio-Eritrean war, and since the TPLF has systematically Tigricized the armed and police forces, as well as the intelligence services during its 27 years of dictatorship, the TPLF leaders were dead certain that they could route the Ethiopian army, capture Addis Ababa in a few weeks, and retake power. 

The TPLF, by its own admission, launched an attack on the Ethiopian Defence Forces on 3 November 2020 and took over the weaponry that was positioned there to be used in case of another conflict with Eritrea. Though the TPLF has publicly and repeatedly admitted to have started the war, American politicians, NGOs, and media have scotomized this fact from their consciousness for reasons only they know. 

The Ethiopian army, understaffed and under equipped, withdrew from Tigray and the Ethiopian government declared a ceasefire. Sure of its military superiority, the TPLF called the ceasefire “a joke,” rejected it, and invaded Amhara and Afar, sowing death and destruction in every village and town, destroying property, demolishing schools, hospitals, churches, mosques, and health centers, raping women, killing innocent farmers, razing homes and harvests.

However, despite its military superiority, the TPLF has failed to overthrow the democratic government, because the history of democracy is on the side of Ethiopia.

The anti-democratic and ethnic supremacist TPLF may be better equipped and supported by American NGOs, media, and politicians. But what the TPLF and its strange American bedfellows forget is the great lesson of history. Those who believe in democracy may be outgunned. But in the end, they always defeat tyrants and dictators, even if initially the tyrants and dictators appear to have the upper hand. 

That democratic Ethiopia will eventually win is a historically foregone conclusion. In the meantime, however, millions of Ethiopians are suffering, because America’s inexplicable support to the TPLF is prolonging the war needlessly.

Which brings us to the question: why does democratic America support the anti-democratic TPLF against the democratically elected government?

Cynics may see this as a naïve question. They will point out that America has overthrown democratic governments and replaced them with anti-democratic ones in the past, to wit, the overthrow of Mosaddeq in 1953, of Allende 1973. However, one may rationalize that these American supported coup d’états took place in the era of the Cold War. At the time, it was considered fair game to oust governments that are independent-minded and replace them with those willing to serve American interests.

But we are neither in 1953 nor in 1973. The cold war ended in 1988. Ethiopia under Abiy Ahmed is a liberal democracy, inspired in many respects, by American democracy. Ethiopia is currently a shining example of an African liberal democracy. And 27 years under the anti-democratic TPLF has given her a strong immunity against dictatorship. That is why the TPLF cannot defeat Ethiopia. 

So, why is democratic America trying hard to overthrow the democratically elected government and to facilitate the return to power of the anti-democratic ethnic supremacist TPLF? What prevents America from being on the side of democratic Ethiopia?

Would Mr. Antony Blinken answer the questions, please?

For Ethiopians who struggle for democracy, America’s support for the anti-democratic TPLF and her hostility to democratic Ethiopia is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” 

Would Mr. Antony Blinken explain to us this “riddle,” for he is privy to the “mystery” and “enigma” that surround it?

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