TPLF reformists solidify their power, but keep a monstrous human rights violator in their ranks

The Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), a member of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Democratic Front (EPRDF), has removed almost all of the old guards, including Abay Woldu, Kidusan Nega, Abay Tsehay, and many others, from its leadership, but decided to keep former spy chief Getachew Assefa, one of the worst human rights violators in Ethiopian history, as a member of its central committee. The decision was made at TPLF’s 13th congress that was convened last week and will be adjourned today.

The camera-shy Getachew Assefa at the TPLF 13th congress in Mekele yesterday

By keeping Getachew Assefa in their ranks, Debretsion Gebremichael, Getachew Reda and others who claim to be reformists, may have hurt their credibility. While the other 3 organizations that are members of EPRDF are making serious personnel and policy changes, TPLF is refusing to fully reckon with its ugly past.

For over 20 years, spy chief Getachew Assefa has been responsible for unspeakable atrocities in Ethiopia. If the reformists in the TPLF are serious about reforming their party, they must start with removing all members among them who have committed human rights violations. Because personnel is policy. Having Getachew Assefa as a member of the TPLF central committee means the party is not serious about respect for rule of law and human rights.