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TPLF divided into two irreconcilable camps: reformists vs. old guards

TPLF Leaders

TPLF divided into two irreconcilable camps: reformists vs. old guards

By Mereja

It is hard to believe that there are reformists within the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF). But there are, and they now have the upper hand within the organization, according to’s sources.

The reformist group is led by Debretsion Gebremichael, chairman of TPLF and president of Tigray, Abraham Tekeste, TPLF executive committee member, and Arkebe Oqubay, advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office. Debretsion has been one of the hardliners for a long time, but recently he has seen the writing on the wall and aligned himself with Arkebe Oqubay, Abraham Tekeste, Getachew Reda and others who have been arguing in favor of fully supporting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda despite what it means to TPLF — reduced influence in the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Democratic Front (EPRDF), as well as in the central government.

The reformists have so far played a key role in the smooth exit of army chief Samora Yenus, intelligence chief Getachew Assefa, and other powerful TPLF figures in the government, sources noted. They have also been working behind the scene to convince the TPLF Central Committee to support PM Abiy’s proposal to withdraw Ethiopian troops from occupied Eritrean territories. They now have the support of the majority of the TPLF central committee.

The TPLF old guards are led by Abay Tsehay, Seyoum Mesfin, and Samora Yenus. They have a network of cadres and agents throughout Ethiopia who are currently instigating ethnic clashes and violence for the purpose of making the country ungovernable for the new leadership. It was the old guards who came up with the military command post idea. And they fought hard to keep it in place as long as possible. Their efforts, however, have been undercut by the reformists who are realistic about the current state of affairs in Ethiopia.

Unlike the delusional old guards who still think that they can continue to exert influence through the use of force and pitting one ethnic group against another, the reformists understand that the only way TPLF can survive as a political entity in a peaceful Ethiopia is by accepting the new reality.

Abay Tsehay and his group of hardliners have run out of ideas. Their old divide-and-rule tactic is no longer working. If the bomb blast at the public rally in Addis Ababa last Saturday is linked them, it will bring their final and ugly demise.

TPLF “reformists” appear to be willing to embrace the changes that are taking place in Ethiopia today and they should be welcomed with open arms in the spirit of PM Abiy’s politics of addition.

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