Although the war fanatics and the beneficiaries of the war are on the loose, although there are open and hidden forces that want to create doubt between the government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray Defense Force, great sacrifices have been made to free Ethiopia from the destructive war. It is true that the agreement involves not only EFDF and TDF but many others. Among others TPLF, certain Tegarus living abroad (Diasporas), parties who were struggling Welqayit and Raya from Tigray Region, those who want to see TPLF eliminated from the earth are worth mentioning. Those who want to see TPLF eradicated from the earth may include political leaders who have ill intention both for Tigray and EPLF in neighboring country, members of the former Ethiopian defense, some call it the defense of the Derg, political party leaders ousted by TPLF, are worth mentioning.
Among others one of the intellectuals of Ethiopia living abroad blatantly, deliberately and unashamedly in his article states that “…wish for peace is one thing to embrace it is another. As long as the TPLF remains what its track record shows, they will never embrace it. They are also untrustworthy in applying an agreement. They change color like a chameleon and jump to betrayal. Thus, though people are rejoicing that an armistice has been signed in Pretoria, real peace will be fleeting.” On the other hand, the other Ethiopian intellectual who claims to be the supporter of TPLF says “PM Abiy is not a person to be trusted. He is very dangerous like white snakes. No one can predict his attack. He can change his ideas as much time as he wants.”
Despite the war that coasted us life and economic discrepancy; if both parties are given another equal opportunity on the peace agreement, to express their opinion in their own way, one may state that “The EDF was not serious when it signed the Pretoria agreement. If you look deep down to the reality, you will discover that the West is acting together for its own purpose. That is why it is wrong to trust agreement to make TPLF and FDRE partners in peace-building”; while the other may say that “The EDF and TDF were not serious when they signed the PRETORIA PEACE AGREEMENT. If you look things thoroughly, you will find out that it is for fear of the Western countries that BOTH came together to act according their needs. That is why it is wrong to make the government of Ethiopia and TDF partners in peace-building.”
Indeed, one can be demonized the other for each and individual purpose. Both may even try, at the level of their best, to give us tangible examples how one partner can betray the other after signing peace agreement. In addition, they may try to give concrete examples that proves taking merciless action against TPLF is the only solution to realize peace in the country. Or otherwise, they may tell us that the only remedy to realize peace is over throw the FDRE government. By the way, these types of people can be found in every profession. The can be professors in higher schools, generals in armies, religious leaders, journalist, painters and even sculptors.
In addition to the above mentioned negative attitudes, complex plans leading to a breach of peace agreement were devised or plotted and implemented. Some people say these plots were designed some 30 years before. Others say it is not more than 8 years old. While the third party tries to explain that the second plot is part of the first plot. According to them, these plots were designed by the Eritrean president, Issayas Afewerqi, opponents of TPLF, Western countries who historically have interest on the Red Sea regions and the others could be evil spirits persons or Satans in disguised. Others still say, “No, no, no, Ethiopia has historical enemies like Egypt and Sudan in the nearby countries. Both countries do not want to see a peaceful Ethiopia so as to get the flow of Blue Nile without any restrictions. Still others may give professional analysis the on the interest of the countries that signed agreement to scramble Africa among themselves in 1880s.
Regardless of the above mention statements what we witness in the ground, before the agreement took place was:-
- Fanning a wave of hatred among the public at a high level,
- Ethiopians who had established their livelihood away from their birth place, who made enter ethic marriage, created means of wealth and property etc. were being dislocated, killed, evicted, robbed, imprisoned and by those ill oriented narrow nationalists.
- Blocking the road transport so as to stop travel of people across regions and stop trade with each other.
- Aggravating conflict between the central government and the regional states in one form or another and igniting firestorm of war throughout the country.
- Pushing and influencing the government to wage war against its opponents.
- Agitating the young generation to increase a sense of hatred one against the other.
- Disseminating biased and unbalanced information Ethiopian mass media (public and private).
- Unable to strongly condemn aggressors, warmongering groups and others who were against the interest of the country and its people.
- The ruthless warmongering regional leaders who were boasting and agitating the people to fight each other mercilessly so as to silence their “foes”
Having all these in package, many people are being killed every day due to the ongoing civil war. The wind of propaganda from many directions was blowing to the greatest extent. Some were adding fuel to the highly burning fire by disseminating hatred. The international world: EU, AU, UN and other humanitarian organizations did not go far from lips services.
Dear friends, having said all these, let me ask some couples of question. What did all kinds of peace initiative groups do since their establishment? How much were they clear about the consequence of the civil wars? How much they free from biases? How much did theu work to bring peace in the war torn, war ravaged, poverty stricken, devastated, and draught affected Ethiopia? Didn’t our country been transformed into war field, ravaged, suffered great damage in all aspects of the war. Were we really clear that:-
*In order to involve hundreds of thousands of people in the war and kill each other, very expensive weapons were bought with Ethiopian money, thousands of civilians have died, and injured; their wealth and property have been destroyed; many towns and villages were distroyed.
- Thousands of elders, sick people, children, and women were attacked in a way that is difficult to describe.
- Almost 90% of people in the northern Tigray region need food aid, the World Health Organization says.
- About a third of the region’s children are suffering from malnutrition.
- Millions of residents were displaced from their places and many lost their wealth in a short period of time.
- Many religious places, social service institutions were destroyed.
- It takes a lot of time, resources and effort to repair the damage.
In my opinion what so ever shape the politics takes, Ethiopia and Ethiopians need to live in peace. War must be stopped. There will not be winner in this civil war. Even if one gains temporary victory it will be only for some times. Believe me, it will erupt again as it gets another opportunity. I am not creating the idea, but our long history, war culture and traditions prove this reality.
Thus, we have to struggle for peace, but beyond paying lips services. Why?
- For people to live in peace,
- For the displaced to return to their places,
- To treat the sick
- To reconstruct demolish, knocked down, bulldozed, blown down, flatten social and economic infrastructures, towns, houses, etc
- For students to return to their studies,
- For civil service workers to return to their jobs,
- So that economic and social development institutions continue better,
- Etc. We need peace.
We need peace because the agreement provides for the resumption of humanitarian access and services and the reintegration process of the people of Ethiopia. The former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, at the press conference held at the end of the talks mediated by the African Union in Pretoria said that “The devil is in the details, but we believe the parties will make it. The deal talks about solving problems as Ethiopians. Neither party will engage in activities harmful to the other. ENDF (Ethiopian National Defense Force) will be the only army. Its task is to safeguard the safety and security of the Ethiopians. Much needs to be done, but trust needs to be built.”
The former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, head of the AU mediation team, at a ceremony said “The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament.” Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Naledi Pandor, during the press conference held at the end of the talks mediated by the African Union in Pretoria emphasized that, “The peace agreement signed in Pretoria between the warring parties in Ethiopia is the fruit of dialogue and diplomacy. but it is now necessary for both parties to implement it. Peace building is a process and it is more difficult than one imagines.” Naledi Pandor also remarked that she was the most relieved person in the dialogue room. “We humbly ask both sides to fully implement this agreement. It must lead to lasting peace. We will support the AU and the facilitation team” she said. Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the United Nations special envoy for the Horn of Africa, at the press conference held at the end of the talks pointed out that “This is an opportunity to chart a new course. The young men and women who have been mobilized to fight will now have a chance to return to their homes and families,”
According to Reuter stated that, “The Ethiopian government and regional forces from Tigray agreed to cease hostilities, a dramatic diplomatic breakthrough two years into a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands facing famine.” It also emphasized that. The agreement also includes “restoration of law and order, restoration of services, unhindered access to humanitarian supplies, and protection of civilians”.
Despite all this, there are forces that do not want peace agreement. These groups of people are trying to the level of their best to invalidate and try to discredit the peace negotiations. the peace agreement. Let it be. There is a say of our country “እሾህም ሲወጣ ያማል” may be translate as even taking out thorns that has entered deep inside our foot is painful. It is known that there will be problem from here on. So, let’s work hard to achieve the peace outcome even if there are obstacles until things take shape.
By Teshome Berhanu Kemal