TPLF: ‘Struggle in defense of revolutionary democracy…and federal system is expected’

This is a full translation of TPLF Chairperson Debretsion Gebremichael’s speech to the party’s Congress in Mekelle on September 26, 2018

Your excellencies, members of political parties and officials. Distinguished participants of the 13th TPLF congress and invited guests from abroad. Ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to say welcome those who came to participate and write a new chapter to the inauguration of the 13th TPLF congress. And I’m so pleased to say welcome.

Distinguished participants of the Congress, invited guests and ladies and gentlemen.

It is recalled that TPLF along with other parties and the people of Ethiopia have fought and sacrificed to build a constitutional country. It has brought a remarkable change in the political, economic, and social spheres.

Our people who live in urban and rural areas are pulled out of poverty and their livelihoods are improving step-by-step. Nevertheless, the cause we fought for isn’t only limited to poverty reduction. It’s also to see a prosperous Tigray and country. We fought not to have an impoverished and poor country, but a country advanced in science and technology.

We fought not to have an impoverished and poor country, but a country advanced in science and technology

However, over recent years we are experiencing challenges that hamper our short- and long-term plans. These challenges have slowed our development and our people suffered from a lack of good governance.

Ladies and gentlemen

EPRDF believe if these bottlenecks aren’t assessed and addressed adequately they’ll undermine the founding principles and policies of our party and the vision of Meles. Keeping in mind that our regime may head to a worsening crisis, EPRDF has made a deep assessment of its failures by launching a movement of reform.

Our party (Editor’s note: EPRDF not TPLF) is known for assessing itself, correcting its weaknesses without compromise, and being able to recover from crisis. By doing so our party has reconfirmed to the public its history-making culture and abilities by delivering fast growth. Therefore, in order to recover from recent crisis, it has renewed its struggle and launched various party and public assemblies. During our meetings, we worked to reach a common understanding and recommended solutions to our problems.

Distinguished Congress participants and invited guests. Ladies and gentlemen.

While our party started making huge preparations and implementing some tasks to bring about change, our journey of growth and renaissance was put in jeopardy. Groups from inside and abroad collaborated and worked to undermine our constitutional federal system in general and specifically against the interests of our people and to create divisions so that they can establish their own system.

We have pardoned political parties who reside abroad and came to their homeland. Unfortunately, they are working so hard in collaboration with foreign forces and exploiting this chance to topple the government. They a created a situation where they can engage in both peaceful and unlawful activities. The constitutional rights of the people are undermined and individuals from any ethnic background do not feel safe to work and move anywhere they want and are being attacked.

We should also battle those who want to establish their own system by creating ethnic tension

We, along with other nation and nationalities, should battle these threats in order to maintain peace, development and democracy. We should also battle those who want to establish their own system by creating ethnic tension, disturbing our peace and creating chaos.

We are in a very difficult situation and if it is not handled properly it can cause a huge destruction. Therefore an all-round struggle in defense of our revolutionary democracy, constitution and federal system is expected.

Ladies and gentlemen

We have witnessed an exciting announcement during the New Year. We come together with the people of our neighbor Eritrea after staying as the furthest apart of the near. Both people started to move forward in a new spirit by getting together and sharing what they have. The people of Eritrea and Tigray are related in history, culture and language for a very long time. Therefore we should work together in order to normalize the relationship of both people and for the next journey of prosperity and peace. We should take a lesson from our past good and bad experiences in order to attain this.

We should bring our resources together and work in order to compensate the lost decade. I strongly believe our Congress will pass resolutions that strengthen this new chapter.

Distinguished participants of the Congress and invited guests. Ladies and gentlemen.

Our Congress is being held at a historic moment. It’s a Congress of change held during our course of renaissance. During this Congress we must learn from our past and put our next journey right and should pass decisions that benefit our people. The success of our Congress is measured in terms of its contribution to Tigray’s democratization and transformation.

Based on this spirit, I call on all participants to confirm its readiness and fulfill its duty. Our Congress is expected to bring about the changes demanded by the public, nominate a meaningful new generation who will play its own role, give direction and pass decisions.

You have tolerated all dangers waged against you.

I remind participants that the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their people are here with us in the Congress. They will notice our stand and decisions. We the participants of this historic Congress must fulfill the wishes of our martyrs. We either pass decisions that benefit our people or find ourselves in another conspiracy. Every one of us without ignoring the wishes of our martyrs, I hope you are willing to accomplish a history that benefits our people and that doesn’t cause us to regret. By putting aside all the campaigns waged to disrupt the Congress, I believe you’ll make a stand in favor of people’s interest, pass decisions that introduce a new chapter in our region, and have a positive impact on our country.

Dear people of Tigray

You have managed to pass through verbal threats and physical attacks for the sake of the common interest of fellow citizens, offering a message to everyone, and scored a victory using your experiences of your struggle and your big heart. I urge you also to continue your principled struggle with patience. I strongly believe our Congress will pass decisions that strengthen your peaceful struggle and have a huge role in solving the problems of our people.

I also ask your usual support for the success of our Congress.

Dear Tigray’s youth

You have tolerated all dangers waged against you. And you have been peacefully struggling by putting into consideration the crisis we faced and understanding the threats.

Since our country is still experiencing challenges, I urge you to continue your concern and cautious, peaceful struggle.

Our Congress is ready to pass decisions that helps you sustain the journey of renaissance, your role in getting rid of the poverty in our region and country, dealing with and solving the challenges you might encounter during your engagement.

Dear people of Ethiopia

In the last 27 years we founded a federal democratic country where people can administer themselves, improve their livelihoods, and created an economy that is shared fairly. Our country has had fast growth and improved democracy. It has become a hopeful country which others want to live in. However, the culture of living in harmony is degraded by creating ethnic clashes and the safety of citizens is in jeopardy.

On this occasion, I want to send my condolences for the families who lost their loved ones in different parts of the country, especially the one who lost their loved ones in Addis Ababa and its surrounding recently. I’m also sad for the property damaged.

We must speak out so that those who committed the crime serve justice, the displaced are resettled, and for the restoration of rule of law.

I assure you that the TPLF along with the people of Tigray and with all parties who respect the constitution are going to work to solve the challenges and threats and ensure the renaissance of our country to its best.

The culture of living in harmony is degraded by creating ethnic clashes

Finally, we will continue to work to strongly sustain the change happening in Tigray. Besides I strongly believe our Congress will pass decisions that solve issues related to a lack of good governance, democracy and development at different stages.

Again putting our unity and revolutionary principles together, we will overcome all the challenges we faced and challenges ahead of us.

Victory to the 13th TPLF congress

We should abide by our people and principles.

Let respect and glory be to our martyrs.

I thank you.

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Main photo: Debretsion delivering the speech in Mekelle

The translation of the speech from the original Tigrinya was done by Kibreab Beraki and was paid for by the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Ethiopia, an informal network of journalists.

To commission Kibreab for translation or research work, please contact him at

Published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Cite Ethiopia Insight and link to this page if republished.

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About the author

Kibreab Beraki

Kibreab Beraki is an economics graduate based in Mekele. He's been a data analyst for NGOs and worked with the international media.

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