Ethiopia Hailed For Delisting TPLF As A Terror Group

A decision by the house of peoples representatives of Ethiopia to remove the Tigray people’s Defence Forces as a terror group has been hailed as a major step in enabling the peace agreement signed in 2022 to move forward.

The move by the Ethiopian parliament was made at an extraordinary session on Wednesday, 22 March 2023, in the Capital Addis Ababa. It comes at a time when several groups including government representatives are meeting in Addis to discuss the way forward after hostilities significantly reduced in the troubled Tigray region.

Adem Kassie, a senior officer from the Institute for Electoral Assistance notes that this is a great opportunity for the peace process to be successful as it depends on the delisting of TPLF as a terror outfit.

“The Ethiopian government can now start the process of releasing budget to restart key services, and to bring the Tigray people fully on board to the negotiating table,” Kassie said.

The enlisting of the TPLF as a terror outfit a few months into the start of the conflict in 2020, has been termed by scholars and diplomacy experts meeting at a peace conference in Addis Ababa, as a push by the Ethiopian government to put a chokehold on the group economically and politically.

George Kegoro from the Open society – Africa noted that “This is a big deal because it was one of the breaking points that led to the signing of the peace deal. The recognition of TPLF as a peace partner will be a huge confidence-building measure that Ethiopia has taken on,”

Under the stewardship of a three-member team of eminent personalities including Kenya’s retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Ethiopian government signed a deal to end hostilities, with the TPLF.

This was followed up by an AU-led mission to investigate whether the points of the agreement had been met inside Tigray. After two years of conflict, Tigray’s major airport in Mekele was reopened as families engaged with one another after a long time of being apart.

“There are many conversations that need to take place, the primary one is between the TPLF and the government. The matter of disarmament has been going on, but it has not been clarified how far it has come, but this will go a long way in giving confidence to the people” Director at Open society- Africa George Kegoro noted.

In a meeting in Addis Ababa hosted by Open Society Africa and the Institute of Security Studies, the Ethiopian Minister for Peace noted the great achievements made between the two parties in the last year, but also stated that for peace to prevail there is need for more institutions that are geared towards justice for the victims to be instituted.

Muthoni Wanyeki from OSA states that without further engaging the affected groups in the region especially the victims of sexual abuse, then not much will be done in a bid to heal the wounds that have been compounded by the death of just about 600,000 people in the region of Tigray alone.

With other conflicts inside Ethiopia still bubbling in the Oromia, Somali, and Amhara regions, the government has been urged to dig deeper into the root causes of the conflicts and deal with each, one by one to avert a future eruption of hostilities.

Ethiopia is a huge player in Democracy and governance in Africa and being on the seat of the African Union, the country has been called to make even stronger efforts in ensuring that peace prevails.

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