Why does TPLF badly need the next election to be held?

Asmelash Yohannes (PhD,
Mekelle University School of Law)

From strategic point of view, the leaders of TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) know, or they are predicting to say the least, that the ruling EPDRF party may not survive the upcoming general election. You can call this a gamble or a bluff! But it could make sense if you have the time to crunch the numbers!

TPLF is with no doubt credited with the creation of the different parties that the ruling party EPDRF is composed of. Thus, their strategic calculation and prediction should not be undermined. They are betting that ODP (Oromo Democratic Party) and ADP (Amhara Democratic Party) would be victims of their own political making: the ‘reform’ championed by both parties would backfire spectacularly and it would either sweep them into the trash bin! or would highly weaken them politically. This thinking is based on different factors.   ODP and ADP are going to face an uphill battle in their home turf in the upcoming general election as they are going to compete against opposition parties that have strong support at grass roots level.  For example, ODP would compete against OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) and OFC (Oromo Federalist Congress) in Oromia region. OLF, despite the splitting of the party into different factions due to internal power struggle, has a strong support throughout Oromia. The reception of OLF’s leader Abbo Dawud  Ebsa at Addis Ababa from his self imposed exile had attracted millions of people. Main streets and road junctions in many cities of Oromia region are still painted with the flag of OLF. On the other hand, OFC is led by charismatic political veterans: both Dr. Merrara Gudena and Bekella Gerba wield greater influence in Oromia than that of the current president of Oromia region Abbo Shimelis Abdissa. Thus, TPLFites are of the opinion that ODP’s share of the ballots in Oromia region would be snatched by OLF and OFC. Furthermore, Jawar Mohammed, a political fire brand of the Querro movement, is a force that needs to be reckoned with. His decision to support either of the political opponents of ODP could be a game changer.

Further north, every political observer in Ethiopia understands that ADP of Amhara region is at crossroads. The assassination of high ranking political leaders of ADP in June 2019 was the last thing the party needed.   Even before this unfortunate event, the party was under immense pressure from new and emerging nationalist parties. Nationalist parties led by National Movement of Amhara (NMA) and other vocal activists residing abroad have managed to shrink the influence of ADP in Amhara region. This was factored by TPLF strategists. TPLFites are dead sure that the combination of internal power struggle within ADP and the threat from nationalist parties in Amhara would hasten the demise of ADP.

In General, TPLF seems to conclude that ODP and ADP would be at perilous situation at the next general election. The flip side of their argument is that TPLF can comfortably win the election in Tigray as they still seem to command the support of the elite and ordinary people. There are four opposition parties in Tigray: National Congress of Great Tigray (BAITONA), Third Revolution Tigray (TRT), ARENA Tigray, and TAND (Tigray Alliance for National Democracy). However, these four parties don’t seem to mobilize people and their support in Tigray is not something that could threaten the dominance of TPLF. If the next election is to be held as planned, there’s no doubt that TPLF will garner significant support in Tigray to overwhelmingly sweep all seats for the regional and national parliaments. However, the future for ODP and ADP is very bleak. TPLFites have officially and unofficially started to proclaim that they would seek coalition with other federalist parties if ODP and ADP fail to win sufficient votes in the next general election.

I am not in a position to ridicule the calculations of the TPLF strategists nor am I going to give them thumps up. But nothing would surprise me if Prime Minister Abiy decides to postpone the general election for fear of losing his grip on power. He perfectly understands that he stands zero chance of staying at the helm if ODP and ADP lose ground in Oromia and Amhara, respectively. For this reason, he may decide to postpone the election indefinitely until he feels comfortable that the survival of EPRDF is not under any threat. However, it would not surprise me a bit if the ruling coalition party disintegrates before the general election is held! These days, only fools would dare to predict what the future holds for the country.


  1. The TPLF is in firm control and in charge in Tigray and says that the region is the most stable and peaceful place in Ethiopia. The TPLF leaders are certain that they will win the election in Tigray by a very wide margin and continue to use the region as their safe haven. Losing tigray will be suicidal for the TPLF leaders who will have to face justice for their crimes in Ethiopia. They will also use Tigray as a pawn in any negotiations with the Abiy government against which they have deployed heir big army of digital weyanne. The so called medemer or inclusive politics of prime minister Abiy Ahmed is dismissed by the TPLF leaders and their Tegaru diaspora. The tegaru (Tigrean) diaspora have vowed their full backing to the TPLF and the Tigray state that may take the political course of becoming a sovereign and independent country in the near future.Many in the so called Tegaru Diaspora were the main beneficiaries of the TPLF misrule and pillage in Ethiopia. They were partners in the pillage.

  2. TPLF will try everything possible to oust the current Federal government and replace it with Hailemariam Desalegn’s type puppet.

    The current Federal government is about to take appropriate measures to take back the illegally held military helicopters and military weapons from Tigrai region.

    The current federal government is also about to change birr with new birr notes , so TPLF be forced to exchange the hundreds of billions of birrs they stored by bringing them to the banks, it would estimated the TPLF thugs have burried under their mattresses and under their lawns over five hundred billion Birrs which has stagnated Ethiopia.

    TPLF is in deep trouble unless they somehow get back to power.

  3. “Why does TPLF badly need the next election to be held?”

    ANSWER: To come back to power it lost and restart its killing machines in Kilinto, Ma’ekalawi and in the very many secret prisons it opened in Addis Ababa; to reclaim the buildings and villas that the TPLF killers and looters abandoned in Addis Ababa when the reform started; to evict Oromo farmers and give their land Tigre “investors”; to deafen the people in various towns including Addis Ababa with their music during the night.

    Sir, that is why they “badly need the next election to be held.”

    Hello! Did you get it?

  4. The article writer assumes (concludes) the idea a coalition government by the various Oromo & Amhara groups would be unthinkable. Who is to say that only the TPLF can enter into a Federalist coalition with the smaller nations & nationalities groupings? Couldn’t the ADP & specially the ODP do the same? In fact, it would be a lot more easier for the Oromo parties to form coalitions with the smaller groups than the TPLF.

  5. This analysis assumes (concludes) that the idea of a coalition government by the various Oromo & Amhara splinter groups would be unthinkable. Who is to say that only the TPLF can enter into a Federalist coalition with the smaller nations & nationalities groupings? Couldn’t the ADP & specially the ODP do the same? In fact, it would be a lot more easier for the Oromo parties to form coalitions first among themselves, and then with the smaller tribal(ethnic) parties than for the TPLF.

  6. In today’s Ethiopia we are all victimized by the Constitution that was imposed on us ,by the people we didn’t elect to draft the Constitution.

    TPLF exercised mass shootings both in Ethiopia and in Somalia by defying the national and international laws.

    Wallelign Mekonnen wrote the Constitution decades ago then decades later few EPRDF thugs imposed the Constitution on whoever they chose to impose on, while leting themselves be above the Constitution and leting who they like become above the penal codes of Ethiopia.

  7. The article is very wise and also read Woyane’s mind. Woyane are trying closely work with all kind of Oromo libation front organization to increase there chance to come back. For that matter they are funding and creating platform to oppose Dr. Abiy regime. One of the reason are preaching to held an election before the country stabilized from ethnically violation. They already new that this election will not bring any peace due to ethnically unrest and, they will push as much as they can to stay on power on the head of Tigraians’. I am thinking if Dr. Abiy want to win the coming election, he need to demolish EPRDF party and create new none technical party as soon as possible.

  8. Asmelash’s analysis of TPLF’s calculus is spot on, however; What the TPLF lords of Ethnic politics have not factored into their calculus is that Ethiopian nationalities don’t see TPLF as an Ideological partner, save the radical Oromos who see TPLF as a counterbalance to the emerging popular Ethiopian Nationalism. No doubt- if push comes to shove, all would coalesce around Abey to save the day. Having said that, TPLF has successfully has disseminated the siege mentality not only within Tigrian people with Tigry proper, but also with the help of its tentacles, in Tigrian community living in By doing that, it seems to have a firm grip on Tigrian support. However, Ethiopians with all their uncertainty, they know they are in a much better place than TPLF dominated Tigray. TPLF favorably looked at in Tigray because by hooks or by crooks these dens of thieves have brought the dough to Tigray. No surprise the so called Tigrian activist came out clamming the one merciless plunderers and Wayne executioners as political prisoners. At this time TPLF and Ethiopian people are in quite different Orbit. Although TPLF Orbit seems to be more stable, the pressure within and without will be much pronounced when the loot line dries up. Having an urgent election gives TPLF a life line of legitimacy till the next election. And it also gives it a legitimacy to use its state power to squash any internal political movement that tries to unseat it.

  9. Dear Dr.,
    I wonder how could PM Abiy can postponed the next election. By the end of next year, the parliament won’t have any legitimacy. Or does the PM will create or endorse some chaos so that the parliament to declare a sate of emergency? That might help to extend his term for about six months.

    Who knows what the “second” pseudo PM Jawar will come up with?

    Here in this article you overlooked or put aside the possible action that could be taken by the Military. Or you don’t want to? Which side would the Military force will stand?

  10. Dear Jemal what legitimacy are you talking about ? Are telling us 100% of Weyane coached and stole election is a legitimate election. In the past 27 years was there a legitimate election to speak of ? Arguing about about none issue is so inane. Just put down what a legitimate election has to be fulfilled in order to be called one, then and only then we could have an intellectual discussion about it. Echoing TPLF’s talking point or OLF talking point without thinking it through never a sign of a learned man or woman.

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