ADDIS ABEBA – Leaders of Tigray liberation front (TPLF) continued to voice their criticism of Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
The latest criticism came from a senior Tigrayan politician and EPRDF member who served as communications minister under Abiy’s predecessor, Getachew Reda who accused Prime Minister Abiy of arresting members of its ethnic group in a politically-driven crackdown
The accusation marked growing tensions between elements in the TPLF – a movement that has dominated Ethiopia for decades – and new reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed who has upended politics with a string of radical reforms.
TPLF’s leaders feel that they sidelined as reformist Prime Minister Abiy attempts to draw a line under past abuses.
The prime minister has reportedly sacked 160 army generals for actions amount to “state terrorism”.
“There are efforts to corner the people of Tigray,” Getachew, who is executive member of TPLF, told Reuters.
“But we don’t believe that’s going to work because we are steeped in the tradition not just of defending ourselves but also rising up to whatever challenge.” He accused Abiyof selective justice.
“Abiy controls the international narrative but not necessarily the country,” Getachew said.
At least 79 security officers, officials, businessmen and women, many of them Tigrayan, have been arrested since last week – under what the government said was a clamp-down on corruption and mistreatment of prisoners.
Amnesty International and other rights groups have welcomed the arrests. But TPLF chair Debretsion Gebremichael said last month that the arrests ordered under “the pretext of corruption and human rights are being used to attack Tigrayans”.
Abiy’s rise – as Ethiopia’s first leader from the majority Oromo group – had transformed decades-old hierarchies in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition that was founded by the TPLF and came to power in 1991.
Soon after Abiy was inaugurated in April, he made peace with long-time foe Eritrea and started pushing reforms he said were meant to rein in the military and security services and limit their involvement in the economy – changes that have been largely welcomed by Western powers. (Daily Monitor)