Removed from the politburo of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in 2010, Sebhat Nega still holds hopes of once again heading the party he helped to found.
Despite his advancing years and his ousting from the top of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, mainstay of the coalition ruling Ethiopia) and from EFFORT (the holding company for TPLF companies), Sebhat Nega is keen to go beyond his current post of executive director of the pro-government Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development (EIIPD). An old hand in the TPLF who has long been in dispute with Azeb Mesfin, the widow of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, he is still making his presence felt behind the political scenes.
While on a tour of the Tigray Regional State in early May to sound out the local TPLF leaders, managers and activists, Sebhat Nega hit the headlines when he agreed with those present at a meeting denouncing corruption, nepotism and iniquity of the TPLF regime. He then immediately toned down his criticisms, stating “we must join together to solve these problems”.
Interviewed about the TPLF’s record on the German radio station Deutsche Welle in the Amharic language a few days ago, Sebhat Nega defended the party’s policies over the 23 years it has been in power since 1991. He justified sidelining the pan-Ethiopian organisations in the Transitional Conference of the time. Nevertheless, he then stated he was prepared to launch a campaign himself to reconcile with these political groups.