Tuesday, January 17, 2023
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Reflecting on another Parliamentary Showdown

On November 15, 2022, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addressed the nation’s House of Peoples’ Representatives once more.

The sixth round of the second year of duty and the fourth ordinary session had just begun on that day, primarily to support the motion following the President, Sahelework Zewde’s, annual legislative program, which she had unveiled to the house several weeks before.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s speech was, as usual, long and monotonous.

Although he was not asked at that level, his laborious elaboration on macroeconomic issues seemed to dominate the entire deliberation.

The hazy information he provided to Representatives about the recent peace agreement with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in South Africa surprised me the most.

At one point, he told parliamentarians that no delegation from the opposing parties went to Pritoria to hand over the Wolqahit-Thegedie and Raya territories to the Tigray or Amhara regions, emphasizing that no one has the right to do so in the first place.

Even the TPLF?

What message is conveyed in Art. 10 Sub-Article 4 of the Joint Accord for Lasting Peace through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities, signed on November 2, 2022, when it broadly states that the issue of “contested areas” shall be resolved in accordance with the country’s “constitution and constitutional order”?

More importantly, Art. 2(d) of the Senior Commanders Declaration toward the Implementation of the Mainstream Agreement, which was later signed in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 12, 2022, makes it clear that “the disarmament of the TPLF’s armed combatants with regard to heavy weapons shall be conducted concurrently with the withdrawal of foreign and non-ENDF forces from the region.”

The term “region” refers to the current Tigray Region, which is incorrectly thought to have included the Wolqahit-Theghedie and Raya territories.

If that is the true plan envisioned by both the peace agreement and its subsidiary agreement, who ultimately owns these territories, given that the 1995 Ethiopian constitution was enacted three solid years after the said territories were forcibly annexed from the former Beghie-Midir and Wollo Provinces, illegally occupied by the then TPLF forces, and incorporated into the Greater Tigrean Region?

Abiy, presumably in the name of “lasting peace,” avoids confronting that historical reality on numerous occasions.

Having said that, he chose to urge the innocent victims not to repeat the same mistake that the offenders had committed against them, claiming that such a restorative (rather than retaliatory) action can in no way guarantee lasting peace between the two communities, the Amhara and Tigrean, which have co-existed since time immemorial.

What a shallow, one-sided, and perverted piece of advice from a seemingly unbiased top federal government official in his capacity as Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s Armed Forces!

Contributed by Merhatsidk Mekonnen Abayneh

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