Friday, October 4, 2013

No Ties with Egypt: Ginbot-7

Andargachew Tsigie, Secretary of Ethiopia's opposition Ginbot 7 movement , disclosed this on Sunday September 29, 2013 at a public gathering held here in Stockholm with members and supporters of the organization who reside in Sweden. Some participants of the gathering posed this sensitive question to know about Ginbot-7's positions regarding the controversial Abay mega hydro-power plant which recently strains relations between
Egypt and the ruling TPLF (Tigray People's Revolutionary Front) regime in Ethiopia. TPLF alleges that Ginbot 7 is one of the groups which are getting support from Egyptian authorities. In his keynote address via Skype from the U.S, Chairperson of Ginbot 7 People's movement said that his organization is forced to engage in armed struggle after exhausting all possible peaceful struggle alternatives to bring democratic reform and the rule of law in Ethiopia. The chairperson urged all democratic forces to set aside their trivial differences and work on the bigger picture: bringing down the TPLF regime which takes hostage of Ethiopian people for the last two decades. Tsigie underscored that his movement unlike its Ethiopian counterparts, take arms not to grab power from the oppressor TPLF regime but rather to pave ways for millions of Ethiopians to elect their leaders in a free and democratic election. The Secretary demonstrated various activities of Ginbot-7 from its inception to recent ones wherein senior officials including himself and fellow fighters were taking military training. Tsigie noted on the occasion that the Movement, which almost which includes Ethiopians from all sectors of the society who joined the movement from abroad and at home, treats higher ranking officials and the privates the same way and everybody is enagages in all activities equally including the hierarchy. He said Ginbot 7 fighters left behind their families, children, professional careers and all the privileges due to the ongoing degrading, inhumane and unacceptable human-rights abuses by the TPLF regime in Ethiopia. The secretary said TPLF led dictator regime in Ethiopia is unleashing its abuses with impunity against every

Ethiopians including those who gave-up worldly life. A case in point he said several  monks of Waldeba monastery in the North western part of the country who were abused, humiliated and assaulted last year for resisting efforts made by cadres of the regime in Ethiopia to confiscate sacred areas of the monastery for sugar plantation. Tsige underscored that Ginbot-7 is fighting not only to bring democratic reforms in Ethiopia but also to restore the dignity of Ethiopians which have been trampled upon by the ruling party for the last 22 years. According to Tsigie, Ginbot 7 People's Movement is working hand in hand with other democratic forces from Tigray to Gambella, from Afar to Amara areas in order to overthrow the TPLF regime. He told the audience that though past efforts made to unite his organization and the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) led by General Kemal Gelchu wasn't succeed due to some internal problems, there are still promising signs to work together in the future. During questions and answer session, the audience raised questions related to the movement's position regarding its ties with Egypt, its future plan about the restoration of sea outlet to Ethiopia and its working relationship with other armed groups in Ethiopia and abroad. Tsigie underlined that first and for most the TPLF regime is using this over ambitious and controversial Abay Hydroelectric power plant for propaganda purposes. Secondly, Ginbot 7 opposes the plan of this hydro-power plant which is supposed to bring light to millions of Ethiopians living in the dark is rather intended to
fatten pockets of corrupt TPLF's officials and their stooges by selling the electricity in hard-currency to neighboring Sudan. As far as the restoration of port-outlet to Ethiopia is concerned, Tsige noted that Ginbot 7 believes that this issue should be resolved by a government chosen by Ethiopians in a free and fair election after the TPLF regime is removed from the power. He said Ginbot-7 believes in bringing closer peoples' of both nations togather and restore trust and generations old friendships between the two people. Finally, Tsigie gave gratitude and expressed his movement's solidarity to officials and members of UDJ (the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party) who tried to stage a peaceful demonstration on Sunday (September 29, 2013) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa but were forced to halt it due to unprecedented intimidation and harassment by TPLF's police and security agents.  A minute of silence was held at beginning of the gathering to thousands of Ethiopians who perished at home due to the atrocities of TPLF and other compatriots who lost their lives in various parts of the world trying to escape extrajudicial killings, persecution and  extreme poverty. 

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