Aidan Britto, a researcher at the Freemuslim association, Center for De-Radicalization and Extremism Prevention, attended the United States Institute of Peace’s event A Changing Ethiopia: The Puzzle of Ethiopian Politics. The Panelist included Dr. Terrence Lyons.

The event was a book review, that was based on the research of the author Dr. Terrence Lyons. Dr. Terrence Lyons introduced his work by informing us that he had been in Ethiopia and researching and understanding Ethiopian politics over a thirty-year period. The puzzle of Ethiopian Politics is generally based on how the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) were small insurgency groups that quickly emerged to gain support from other local states, and ethnicities which was able to transform an underdeveloped East Africa country into one of the most politically powerful parties in all of Africa. The TPLF came into power in 1991 and remains in office till the present day.

In order to understand the long reign of the TPLF, you needed to understand the Ethiopian political structure and its roots. The country’s political system is a top-down hierarchy state which is based on two factors: 1. The logic of democratic centralism, it is military administration who came to power due to winning a war. The majority of the TPLF being prisoners of war.  2. TPLF was a small group and believed in a more inclusive ethno-federalism.

Furthermore, the 2005 general election was also highlighted as an important event in the country’s history under the TPLF rule. Why? In 2005 there was an opportunity for the opposition to mobilize. Two opposition that didn’t exist in January 2005 had campaigned well enough to win themselves 30% of the seats.

By the same token, why would the TPLF allow this? 1. Pressure from the international community to have freedom for elections. 2. Extraordinary rural state in which they didn’t expect to have the success they did. 3. Allow for the competition to seem better.

Overall, it was spoken how although there TPLF has been in power for so long, Ethiopia is divided into local states, and ethnicities that have their own flag, armies and even football teams.

At Freemuslim we condemn any and all violent behavior and invite people from all backgrounds, religions, and cultures towards coexistence and developing peaceful solutions, and are hopeful that non-violent progress and political unity in Ethiopia can be achieved.