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Monday, July 22, 2024

The Unveiling of  New Possibilities: The Fall of TPLF and the Prospects of Political Transformation in Eritrea

As We Eritreans, we harbor a glimmer of hope that the Eritrean regime will undertake a metamorphosis. The issue with TPLF has been proffered as a pretext for the government to abstain from enacting the 1997 constitution, conducting elections, and demobilizing the army. Many of our soldiers have been conscripted in the army for over two decades, with the government’s rationale being the border dispute with Ethiopia.

The TPLF, the political organization that held sway over Ethiopian politics for almost three decades, had a containment policy that insulated the Eritrean government, regionally and internationally. The impact of this containment policy resulted in dire economic and poor human rights conditions in Eritrea, causing many of our youth to emigrate in pursuit of a better life and freedom. It also incited the Eritrean government to clamp down on political dissidents, arrest journalists, and tighten its grip on the country.

However, after TPLF lost its dominance in 2018, the newly appointed Ethiopian Prime Minister reached a rapprochement with Eritrea. And that was seen as a new down for the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. But the progress of 2018 rapprochement  was deterred after the civil war broke out in Ethiopia in 2020. And Eritrean Government aided the Ethiopian government against TPLF in the war that broke out in November 2020. Significant number of Eritreans, believe that TPLF had been an obstacle for the full implementation of peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia even after 2018. Now that TPLF is capitulated,  Eritreans anticipate; observing if the Eritrean government undertakes political transformations.

Some of our main curiosities, particularly for those of us outside the country, are to see if the government releases political prisoners, journalists, and religious leaders. Some of these individuals were detained in connection with the war with Ethiopia that took place between 1998 and 2000. We also aspire to see if Eritrea becomes more conducive for political parties, freedom speech, religious freedom and etc. and if the government is willing to engage in political discussion with  Eritreans inside and outside the country for democratic transition in Eritrea.

As a community, we also question whether the opposition should be willing to accede to the government or vice versa. Some of us also ponder the role of scholars and activists in bringing about change. As a nation, we must prioritize unity among our members and making peace with the government in order to achieve our goals. Additionally, we must consider how these changes will benefit the common citizens.

We Eritreans can also learn from the Ethiopian experience. After a brutal civil war for two years, the Ethiopian government and TPLF were able to reach a peace agreement. This serves as a testament to the potential for unity and compromise in the face of political conflict.

The fall of the TPLF in 2018 and surrender in 2022 has unveiled new possibilities for political transformation in Eritrea. We Eritreans, and the international community, are attentively observing to see if the government will take steps towards implementing democratic reforms and releasing political prisoners. It is crucial for us, as a nation, to prioritize unity and compromise in order to achieve our goals and bring about change that will benefit all Eritreans and avoid divisions that cause extremism.

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