Aferkulewo (Amharic PDF, Open letter to the PM from Wondimu Mekonnen)

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Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Aferkulewo (Amharic PDF, Open letter to the PM from Wondimu Mekonnen)

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Dememew (Amharic PDF poem from Dememew)

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The letters from Kaliti & Dr Taye (Amharic PDF)

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Why should we care?! (Amharic poem from Alemu Alo)

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Comment on Dawit’s letter

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Dr. Getachew Begashaw’s paper “Is it really Lessons learned and the Way Forward?”

 LA UEDF Support Committee
June 23, 2007

 

Why are our lessons learned from the May 2005 elections and its aftermath so different from that of  Dr. Getachew Begashaw’s as presented to the Canadian Peace-building Coordinating Committee in Toronto – entitled Lessons from the May 2005 Ethiopian Elections: The Way Forward” .  Before we address the topic, we would like to say this is written in the hope of starting a healthy and constructive dialogue from which we believe refined positions and clearer directions will ensue.  We hope our modest contribution will foster a democratic culture that will contribute towards building a democratic system. It not meant to score points and engage in a “win/lose” discourse.

Dr. Getachew Begashaw   presented the government and the opposition’s political positions on the May 2005 election in the form of narratives. Narratives cannot be proved or disproved and when he uses narratives, he confuses fact with fiction and endangers the truth. The May 2005 elections in Ethiopia cost hundreds of precious lives and   thousands were imprisoned. There was empirical evidence collected and deliberated on by the Ethiopian Inquiry Commission set up by the EPRDF government. The commission concluded that the shots fired by the government troops in June and November 2005 were intended not to disperse the protesting crowd but to kill them. That is why we say Dr. Getachew’s confusing narratives is a distortion of the facts, contradicting the reality of major events that took place in May 2005 in Ethiopia.Dr. Getachew also asks. “who won the Ethiopian federal election of May 2005?” In May 2005, 90% of eligible voters turned out to polling stations throughout the country and waited in long lines to cast their votes. Despite huge irregularities, shortages in ballot papers, and outright cheating government cadres planted in some polling stations, the voting ended relatively peacefully. It was indeed a resounding and stunning victory for the people of Ethiopia and the opposition parties. While the final vote counting was going on in the some areas, the Prime Minister announced on national television that public demonstrations and outdoor gatherings were banned in Addis Ababa for a month. Knowing that the opposition parties were heading for a land slide victory, the ruling party prematurely declared itself a winner of the majority of the seats for federal Parliament and Regional councils with the exception of the capital (Addis Ababa). Following this, leaders of opposition parties in Addis were placed under house arrest. The government imprisoned en-masse, in violation of  basic human and civil rights, leaders of opposition parties, trade union leaders, civic organization leaders, independent journalists, students, and peaceful demonstrators.

What is the meaning of “fair” when Dr. Getachew inquires into Ethiopia’s 2005 elections?  Does “fair” for the ruling party and the opposition mean the same things? EPRDF’s fundamental policies towards the opposition have been consistent rejection, hegemony and dictatorship. Now on the defensive, the opposition in pre-May 2005 elections showed the relatively successful formation and unity it lacked in previous elections.  

What does Dr. Getachew mean by “the May 2005 election was a marked improvement over the 1992, 1995 and 2000 elections”? To attribute “improvements” to the May 2005 election process as gratis of   EPRDF and calling for praise while disregarding the decisive contribution of an effective united front of the opposition is a gross oversight.   What was different in May’s 2005 election, Dr. Getachew, was the opposition decided to apply pressure in unity and mobilize the Ethiopian people against EPRDF; that was the real “marked improvement” over the previous elections. EPRDF has consistently maintained its dictatorial rule with Meles at it head in 1992, 1995 and 2000 elections. EPRDF’s perpetual offensive on any opposition to its rule began with its march into Addis in May 1991 and the years subsequent to EPRDF ascent to power ushered the demise of some opposition parties, the regrouping of others and the coming into being of new ones. None of these parties were a match to the organized power of EPRDF & EPLF that continually thwarted their formation, development or advance.  

The opposition parties’ united front, a progress born out of the persistent and determined struggle, created a legitimate opposition coalition force that got popular support.  It forced Meles and his party to come to the negotiation table for the first time in March 2004 and make concessions ; i.e. discuss some of the oppositions preconditions ( e.g. change electoral laws, admit international observers into Ethiopia, access to media, neutrality of the National Election Board etc). Sorry Dr. Getachew, we don’t share your praise for “the ruling party” that you claim facilitated “a largely conducive condition to conduct elections”. We believe it was the opposition leaders and the Ethiopian people  in the May 2005 elections that forced Meles to play out his hand , the hand he dubbed “a calculated risk”.  EPRDF’s vote rigging, ballot destruction, harassment and innumerable sabotage activities during the elections became more visible to the international community in May 2005, but were always there in 1992, 1995 and 2000 elections.  As such, talking about “conducive condition to conduct elections” rings hollow for us.  

Furthermore, no lesson can be learned by stating the May 2005 elections as a “marked improvement over 1992, 1995 and 2000” without adequate comparative analysis of the periods, the contending parties and their relationships to the ruling party.  The ruling party immobilized the opposition parties with pernicious propaganda and curtailed their movement around the country while PM Meles continued to scream for a “viable opposition”. The feeble opposition boycotted the 2000 elections and the outcome of 1995 election was predetermined before any election campaigns began.   Meles kept his pretense of no viable opposition until his rude awakening in the May 2005 elections; i.e. until Ethiopians in there millions demonstrated their support for a united opposition.  We credit the staunch support of the Ethiopian people, which catapulted the opposition into prominence and gave a legitimate challenge the ruling party.  Only months before the May 2005 elections, Ato Meles refused to have the presence of international observers during the elections citing “sovereignty” in these matters, refused to change the electoral laws tailored for EPRDF’s hegemony, refused and curtailed the opposition’s access and use of media outlets.  No! Dr. Getachew, EPRDF does not deserve any praise.   The lesson learned in the May 2005 election is a strong united front of the opposition got results and forced   EPRDF to concede to numerous opposition demands though it came only a few weeks before election day. Some of these concessions were allowing the presence of international observers during the May 2005 elections, changes to the electoral laws, use of media (Television debates, etc.).   The lessons learned is a united opposition is a formidable force that can mobilize millions to effect change. 

Now Dr. Getachew’s advises the opposition parties to “diligently exercise responsible politics and playing the role of loyal opposition.”  Hasn’t Dr. Getachew heard that the job of “responsible politics” and “loyal opposition” is occupied by the likes of Ato Lidetu, Dr. Merera and Dr. Beyene who are diligently exercising responsible politics and playing the role of loyal opposition?  Who are you advising to conduct responsible politics and loyalty? To the opposition leaders in prison and scores of journalists, civic leaders and opposition supporters languishing in Meles prisons?

There is symmetry of opinion between the ruling party and the opposition” and that “an agreement between the opposition and the ruling party might be a distinct possibility”?  Here is a quotation from a March 2007 the Economist report that summarizes where the relationship of the party in power and the opposition is   At present, the expectation is that most of the prisoners will be found guilty and sentenced to serve time in jail. Under this scenario, the best case in terms of maintaining political stability would be if most were quietly released after serving a few years of their sentence, once their political powers had been drained. The most pressing concern is that there are a number of elderly defendants with pre-existing medical conditions and there is a risk that some will not survive internment, which could spark a new bout of political unrest,” the report said. (Report Guilty verdict very likely: Report the Economist Intelligence Unit | March 1, 2007).  Dr. Getachew, do you still say symmetry of opinion and a distinct possibility for agreement?

“Effective power-sharing presupposes an innate belief by both the ruling party and its opposition that they are both toiling for the good of the country,” says Dr. Getachew. We have yet to see a leader, party, group or person now and in previous years that has not claimed its mission as “toiling for the good of the country” (Emperor Haile Sellasie, Col. Mengistu and the champion of peasants PM Meles). The only toilers are the people of Ethiopia that have been disappointed by opportunists who sell them out with every turn of event. Action speaks louder than words and the fact is negotiation at present only means negotiating away our people’s hard won gains. Victory in establishing democracy can be certain if the need for clear and trustworthy leaders with concrete political actions are met. The illusion in the opposition camp that EPRDF will change  through national reconciliation or will share power has been demonstrably shattered by innumerable events in its seventeen years reign and more dramatically in the May 2005 elections. EPRDF will not share power without an intense struggle involving our people. EPRDF is quick to put the tip of bayonet on our peoples’ throats that demand freedom and democracy, always making confrontation unavoidable.

And what about Dr. Getachew’s call for “third parties” to resolve our problems? The lessons of third parties involvement (Cohen in London 1991), Congressman Harry Johnson (1993) have not been helpful for Ethiopia to say the least.  In the post communist world, Meles, Museveni, and Kagame in Africa and Karzai, Nouri, Awaki, Mushareff etc., in Central Asia have become models of modern day democracies lauded by the world dominating powers.  That is the kind of democracy we see globally when third parties are involved in resolving the questions of democracy.  Democracy is not looking for equal “opportunity to rule” with the blessing of third parties.  “Ene Ishalalehu, lenes tera Setugne”. We can’t afford to sideline our people and make them spectators.  Instead of mobilizing and organizing our people for the painful struggle that lies ahead, why does Dr. Getachew point to “third party” solutions?  What are we to make of this downplaying our people’s bitter experience and Dr Getachew’s aspiration for backroom negotiations? Such calls for third parties at present detract our people from self-reliance in solving problems and preparing themselves for the decisive struggle needed to create a democratic system. Third parties showed no effective influence or leadership even after Meles ordered the shooting of students and Addis dwellers that were demanding the recount of votes in June and November 2005.  In spite of “essential third party” mediations and negotiations, there is in essence, no resolution to the voting “irregularities” and no resolution to Meles’ repressive measures.  In fact, third parties were pressuring the opposition to call off boycotts, be happy with the votes they got and join the parliament or take matters to the courts in the aftermath of the May 2005 elections. Dr. Getachew. this is a lesson worth noting and should never be forgotten.  And where are the opposition leaders now who resisted this “third party” intervention? The leaders have been charged and found guilty of for “treason” and “outrage against the constitution” facing possible death.  Shocked, aren’t they these “third parties” by the outcome of the Meles’ verdict?

All opposition parties, civic groups, and individuals are still the target of EPRDF’s destruction. EPRDF has unleashed a reign of terror. The lessons we draw from the bloody suppression of the opposition and its supporters by   EPRDF’s harassment, arrest and eventual imprisonment and guilty verdict of opposition leaders is not the necessity of wheeling and dealing with EPRDF or screaming for third parties or a “middle road” as it has now becoming fashionable in certain quarters. The “ middle roaders” lesson is “no chifen telacha, no chifen degaff” a la Ato Lidetu,  “Yewendemamach tegel new”. Interestingly those who call  “Beherawi Irque” have gotten their response from PM Meles.  “Man tetalana?”   And lately, an advise from a cadre of the ruling party, “gold and dirt, don’t mix”.  

Our people’s struggle and the May 2005 elections taught us the meaning and importance of a united opposition.  At no time since EPRDF ascent to power did the effectiveness of a united front demonstrated as in the eve of May elections. . It taught us the necessity of the participation of millions to sweep EPRDF/TPLF out of power. Ethiopian opposition politics has opened a new chapter in the country’s journey towards democracy and  it is our people that got us here and deserve praise  and not  “essential third parties”. 

May 2005 and the subsequent developments have also clearly demonstrated to our people the limitations of populist electoral politics. EPRDF government was in dire straight and decisively beaten in major cities and even a veteran TPLF cadre admitted publicly recently that the ruling party knows it lost the elections. However, this veteran TPLF cadre added that the EPRDF will not  “let go” of power it won by the barrel of the gun in exchange for paper ballots of the opposition for the sake of democracy.  Will the next election be any different? Those who claim to be in the opposition –but who, in reality, desire to impede our movement by calling us to focus only of the 2010 election only detracts us from summing up our bitter experience; election (2010) would not resolve the problems that emanate from EPDRF dictatorial rule based on sheer military force.

Participation in parliamentary elections has served the participating parties as a brilliant means to extend their political influence and membership. This is yet another lesson learned.  The electoral politics helped to effectively get the opposition parties message out and we all have witnessed the millions that came out in Addis and other cities and towns during campaigns in support of the opposition parties.

Today, the activities of opposition forces outside parliament has been the target of EPRDF/TPLF terrorizing  onslaught, so why talk about “effective power-sharing” when the ruling EPRDF is busier than ever reversing the democratic gains with so much indifference! Reversing gains that even EPRDF held as bragging points in the “democratization process” to its donor partners. The free press is snuffed out including selected websites critical to EPRDF’s rule. No one is held accountable for the indiscriminate killings and the blood split in the June and November 2005 demonstrations. The horrifying killings and the subsequent sharpest increase in human rights violation unmistakably point that EPRDF is not by any stretch of imagination toiling for the good of the country or wants to share power.

The lessons of May 2005 and it aftermath show the importance of mobilizing of our people and conducting a coordinated struggle aimed at stopping the EPRDF from leading the nation into dangerous and destructive paths. No real movement towards democracy is possible until the EPRDF’s rule is brought down to its knees by the mighty force of millions; is there really an alternative to this? The opposition’s unrelenting struggle must continue to concentrate on demands to reinstate all the democratic gains that were reversed by EPRDF/TPLF. No real movement towards democracy is possible until we thoroughly expose the double standard of some foreign governments who play “deaf and mute” to our people’s plea for justice. We must expose their indifference to EPRDF’s government injustice, cruelty and sheer state terror in the aftermath of May 2005 elections. Sadly, we have observed some EPRDF foreign supporters indict the oppositions’ peaceful demonstration and vociferous demands equally with Meles’ bloody suppression and brute response.

UEDF has in many ways communicated, and we share the view,  that restoring and consolidating the gains, further building on them, moving the democratic struggle forward and disallowing EPRDF leaders from derailing our democratic movement has become the urgent task of Ethiopians in the democratic opposition. The struggle to win back, consolidate and build on gains should be conducted simultaneously demanding for the release of all our leaders and the thousands of supporters in prison, release the members of the free press so that they can continue their work and hold responsible those that have committed atrocities on our people. As has previously been repeatedly expressed by UEDF leaders, short of conducting these struggles and creating a democratic system where there is supremacy of law, gains made and the rights won can easily be reversed by EPRDF.  EPRDF incarcerates opposition leaders and followers when it wants too, release them and then put them back in prison again.  We have to stop falling for this nonsense, and believe it is our historical responsibility that we win back our gains and struggle towards a stable democratic system. 

Fairness, marked improvement, conducive, praise, possibility of agreement, effective power-sharing, reconciliation are not exactly timely vocabularies used when engaging  EPRDF. We say let’s concentrate on organizing and  mobilizing our people  for an effective struggle to restore our gains. Focus on exposing  the double standard of third parties. Let’s do what we can to contribute to the democratic process.

Published in: on June 27, 2007 at 12:14 am  Comments (34)  

TAND on Sebehat

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 11:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Morning After the Release of the Political Prisoners

Gizaw Legesse

Rumors are abound about the pending release of our political leaders. Like most Ethiopians I am hopeful yet cautious because of the many theatrics that are the trademark of the current regime. As I read and listen about this momentous happening I can not help but think of our political history. As I await their release I see the ruling party and its ubiquitous media empire a disinformation campaign for political gains and to frame the agenda. I am neither worried nor surprised.

What worries me, is if the past is to be an indicator of the future, I and you will be gullible enough to fall into this trap. Recent Ethiopian politics has evolved into an art where narrations of past grievances real or perceived are debated, where crude and vitriolic words not reason carry the day and where nothing, zero is greater than few or one.

So come the morning after their release, I am afraid, we will slide back to our old ways to revisit the memos they supposedly signed under duress, who refused to sign what, who voted with whom etc. The day after their freedom we will scrutinize each word in the fabricated/leaked documents by the ruling party and its surrogates, to measure our loss , to proportionally assign blame to the victims.

The circumstances under which these heroes, yes heroes, were subjected will be forgotten, the coercion they were subjected to will be minimized and the argument will be not on the cruelty, political intrigue, and vengeance of the ruling party but on the Achilles’ heel of our leaders.

I hope and pray I am wrong. For the scenario above will further weaken us, divide us and most importantly it is a road we have traveled quite often:  the road to nowhere.

I suggest we approach the release of our leaders as a new phase where we leverage our success, and learn from our mistakes. The document(s) – if there are any – signed or fabricated should be taken for what they are. These are coerced confessions that will neither restart the democratization process nor bring about a much desired reconciliation. If anything, these documents show the political equation is decidedly tilted in favor of the EPRDF. It shows an increasingly isolated ruling clique that bases its legitimacy on its security, judicial and military prowess and an opposition with clear and growing political advantage but lacks any instrument of influence.

So we should not allow the freedom our leaders to detract us from our objectives: democratization and individual liberty. As we strive to achieve our goals we should build on our successes for they are the foundation for even more success. The work should be on strengthening the opposition’s capacity and the commitment of each one of us. At the end victory is the sum of small successes.

I welcome our leaders with hope and admiration. They have proved their unyielding commitment to democracy and liberty. I intend to welcome them with joy knowing that the democratic camp will be served better with them free than hostages in an EPRDF dungeon.

Welcome home!! I admire each one of you! I promise you have my full support as you did before you were taken hostage.

The writer can be reached engida.fanta@gmail.com

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 11:17 pm  Comments (14)  

CALL ME BY MY NAME: A discussion with Debteraw, XII

Wolde Tewolde, alias Obo Arada Shawl , (June 23, 2007)

                               REVOLUTIONARY INSPIRATION
                                                       
VS
                                       
WOUNDS OF HOPE
                                               
                                
 The Past          
                                    No deal at Makdela                      
                                 Death at Metema                            
                              Flight to Harare 
                        
Pea at the League
                        of Nations
                                                      

                    The Present       ***
               
Unity at Adua
                    
Peace at Adua
                   
Bitena at Adua 

     The Future
   Debu’s Release
 Peace in Agame (Assimba)
Prosperity at Marcato
Stability with Aagmelago

The three cornerstones upon which Ethiopia was built are FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE. Debteraw and his colleagues realized that the faith in the Ethiopian Church, the love from Monarchy/Aristocracy, and the hope from the modern schools would soon vanish as they have already failed. As an alternative, a vision and a mission to solidify the faith, to democratize the government and to reform the educational system were designed. Debteraw took the lead in organizing the clergy, the workers and the teachers. Debteraw was already empowered, unlike many of his would be comrades, by the inside information of the Imperial Palace, by the Wisdom of the Monastery and by the knowledge of the University for he studied in the three highest Institutions of Ethiopia that were powerful and relevant at the time.


As a result of Debu’s high talent and capacity for change, Ethiopia has created a formidable Political Party Organization, called Ethiopian/Eritrean Peoples’ Revolutionary Party otherwise known as EPRP. Thanks to Debteraw’s indefatigable skill of organization. It is in par with Awate’s single bullet shot heralding the long march of struggle for political change.


The rule of the Anbessa is gone; the rule by Choice (DEMOCRACIA) has arrived. Hoorah to Awate and Debteraw, that is to the bullet and the pen. What is mightier in present day of Ethiopia or Eritrea, I cannot say as both tools for change used by Shaebia and Woyane are imported.

But what went wrong if these two incidents were correct? What went wrong if both initiatives had vision and mission? Why the single bullet shot and the four letters of EPRP have failed to resolve the issue between Ethiopia and Eritrea? Is there an end in sight?

There is simple explanation but not single answer for these questions. The problem does not lie with those who started the struggle, rather it lies squarely on those individuals, groups or organizations who want quick response for questions of who, what, where and when instead of Why and How. Awate and Debteraw, on the one hand, had anticipated different conclusions. Their followers, on the other, did not like to pose the questions of why and how. They seem anemic to these two questions. So the simple thing to do would be for all of us to ask the why and how questions to find the answer because in here lie the correct and simple answer. How Awate answered these two questions will be discussed in one of my future articles. But for now let me go back as to how Debteraw instilled and spread Revolutionary Inspirations particularly in urban areas of Ethiopia.

Debteraw’s Organization of EPRP analyzed the prevailing conditions of Ethiopia before its members and supporters embarked on the Revolutionary Path. Below is how it was explained:

FAITH: EPRP, the agent of change for Ethiopia and Ethiopians have failed to see the faith-the love-the hope under the ancient regime of Haile Sellassie I, under the auspices of the DERG, or under the TPLF/EPRDF, no matter how they claim the history of Ethiopia to be, a century; two millennium; five millennium or more. What matters for EPRP was that the old system did not work or cannot cope up with the modern world, unless a revolution would take place.When we say faith, a lot of people associate this word with religion. That is one aspect of faith but the other aspect is related to science – A science of principle, a Natural Habitat for the Animals. According to Debteraw, the written word from God informed him that there is no vision without preparation. The human animals of EPRP have come in the open. It was not only naturally necessary, it was also scientifically correct. All faiths of religion, politics, poverty, social etc. have come to the public debate.If one carefully examines Debteraw’s picture in Debteraw’s Website, he or she can see that Debu was prepared to topple the government by wearing khaki and a bag (mind you not a gun) and an academic gown in recognition to the power of knowledge. Of course, he accepted the label of Debteraw as a token for the desire to reform the Ethiopian Church. No one, though, can see his inner belief in the website, it is written in his heart of hearts. If this three dimensional of Debteraw is not inspirational leadership, what is it then? Call me by my name. Do you live by your name? Debteraw’s faith is embedded in rocks not on sands. The faith in Principle whether in Nature (science) or in Human Service was and still is the passion for Debteraw and his associates. And so the struggle continues until the Big Debteraw is released. We have to have faith in all aspects of life.

Without faith, there is no hope. EPRP’s faith is still intact.

 LOVE: Love is a noble thing. It is not only human it is also Godly. Ethiopians have been practicing to love strangers for too long regardless of their guests’ enmities or friendship. Ethiopians loved strangers probably more than the aliens loved themselves. But Debteraw observed or sensed that this type of love was not healthy. In fact, it demeans Ethiopians. Poverty was not a choice. When famine struck, the Tigrians and Wolloyes simply accept it as a noble task for getting assistance. (See how humble they were during “we are the world” in the musical event of 1984). Love, according to Debteraw is supposed to be a two way street.

In order to love, at least one has to be respected not only by the Almighty, at least by the donors be it foreigners or local givers. The bureaucrats of Ethiopia and the foreign businessmen or investors however we call them, all began to expropriate (take away peasants’ land) and underpay workers below the minimum human living conditions. And so Debteraw and his comrades demanded for land to the tiller and minimum wage for workers of Ethiopia. If this is not love, what is it then? Call me by my name!

That was an Ethiopian Revolutionary Inspiration. As the old traditional belief of faith and love have been shattered to the core, thousands and millions of students, workers and peasants believed in EPRP inspirational leadership. As a result of this Revolutionary Inspiration, all Ethiopians regardless of their ethnic background and nationality shared not only love towards one another but also life itself. What is your name? Call me by my name!

HOPE: What about Hope? Having failed in the land issue, in reforming the Abyssinian Bureaucracy and to change the curriculum for education, for whatever reasons, practically every individual including the Emperor himself desired for a change – a change for reform or revolution. However, those who wanted reform could not change the supply side of economics. They were silent not because of fear but because they cannot deliver what Ethiopians want. Galvanized by the Ethiopian students, the clergy, the nobility, the bureaucrats and the intellectuals, supported the demand side of economics resulting in the Ethiopian Revolution. Below are how different organizations; groups or fronts structured their path to hope for themselves and for their countrymen.

The following organizations with various agendas, slogans and the practice how each aspire to accomplish prescribed mission is indicated below. It may not show complete picture, though, but it is a start for admission and reconciliation.


NAME           AGENDA       SLOGAN           PRACTICE

Monarchy     Const. Reform     F’ATA (give us time)     Solo

DERG          Revolution          Revolution or Death      Kinet chifera

MIESO         M-L                     Arm Us                    Indoctrination

ELF           Independence      Liberal democracy        Armd struggle

EPLF           ditto                  Awet n’Hafash              Organization

TPLF        separation        Down with Amhara          Hidden issues

OLF        Independence     Gada system                    Single issue

CUD       Federalism             Victory                          Election

 EPRP     Ethiopia              Unity in          DEMOCRACIA      
                                         
Diversity
                                                                               

Hope is the single area where every body is still failing with the exception of EPRP’s PARTY Collective Leadership. Specifically, the Wounds of Hope have emanated from the followings: –

  • The Haile Sellassie regime tried to give Hope by reforming Land in the South and bring Peace in Eritrea. Too little too late.
  • The DERG used Kinet as a weapon to give Hope mainly via Tilahun Gessese’s song “Yitayegnal Biru’h Tesfa K’abyetu Beste Jerba”. It was false Hope.
  • MIESO, “Revolutionary Ethiopia or Death”, through political indoctrination. They got both. Russian domination and their own death.
  • ELF an Independent Eritrea via Armed struggle and a little bit of Democracy. They lost both issues to their rival.
  • EPLF an Independent Eritrea and freedom in Democracy. They got one and lost the other. Harnet vs. Natsnet.
  • TPLF a Separate State with the hope of Unity with Tigrai-Tigrigni population and domination over the Amhara and the Oromo. They seem to have lost all.
  • OLF an Independent Oromia headed by Wellega elites and a Democratic Ethiopia taking Finfine as its seat. So far they have no control.
  • EPRP simply Ethiopia/Athiopia/Othiopia/Abssynia or any name via DEMOCRACIA. They seem to have succeeded partially, for EPRP success is a journey.
  • CUD Federal Ethiopia headed by “ Direct Election”. So far they have lost what they have gained.

As we can see, in today’s world everybody is crying for DEMOCARACY. And who stood for Democracy all along – It is no other than EPRP. The hope for all Ethiopians and Eritreans was dashed because of the lack of understanding of Democracia! A process for decision-making. And so all the wounds of hope are blamed not on the wrong doers but on those who took or followed the right path towards HOPE. Call me by my name. What is my name?

What about now? Let us think twice before we become destructive once more. We had enough of Anjas and Bitenas. As I have indicated in my article of June 13, 2007, call me by my name: A debate with Debteraw, XI. Anja refers to leadership whereas Bitena refers to our way of life (Culture). At this juncture, it is wise to rethink lest we dash our hopes when we see Democracy in the Middle East and in Africa being implemented. And so it imperative to explain what EPRP means by DEMOCRACIA.

What does Democracy meant to Ethiopians or Eritreans? Democracy is the rule by the people. But this definition does not indicate how to put it into practice (remember the question of How). In general, there are three accepted ways of practicing democracy. The Eway is the fourth way and it is the Debteraw’s way – ~Unity in Diversity~. (Luynet Ylemlm).

   Here are the three accepted ways, 

  • Participatory Democracy: The people discuss options then agree on a decision.
  • Representative Democracy: The people choose representatives to make decisions for them
  • Direct democracy: The people vote on options presented to them

  The central theme is that there is great diversity in the ways in which the three models of democracy are put into practice. The question is how can a group make collective decisions? If we follow the democratic theory, the Ethiopian people are to rule, but how do we know what Ethiopians want. People, who need to make decisions that concern them as a group – all 77 million including Eritreans, use DEMOCRACIA or any member of individuals who must accept a collective decision. Since Participatory Democracy – give Ethiopians the power over decisions and discussions; EPRP preferred mainly this type of Democracy for its revolutionary struggle. The problem however is inherent in the decisions – making the structure of power vulnerable due to cultural biases as we have witnessed in the ANJA and BITENA cases. Otherwise, EPRP was practicing or supposed to follow these simple procedures as indicated below:  

Components parts of EPRP’s collective leadership
 

  • Setting the Agenda: What is question?                                               
  • Debate: What are the possible answers?                     
  • Choice: Which answer does the people prefer?
  • Implementation: Putting the chosen solution into practiceCONCLUSION                      

It took about 13 years (1960-1973) for the student movement to set the agenda, seven years (1973-1980) to debate the issues, again 13 years (1980-1993) to make a choice and it is taking over the limit of 33 years (2007 –  ? ) for Implementation of EPRP’s agenda.

In addition to their faith for political change and love for their country, EPRP Collective leaders and members have now gained an incredible Experience and Confidence. And the Hope is still alive and well.


EPRP leaders and their followers as a rule of thumb do consider the following necessary components of participatory democracy.

  • All members can raise an issue, suggest solutions, take part in final decisions
  • Face-to-face meetings
  • Much discussion so that all who want to contribute can be able to do so
  • Tendency to want consensus.

If all are to have a say, a part in ruling, then each voice must have equal weight. When a group in society to have their views counts for more than other groups then it would be an oligarchy masquerading as democracy. As DEMOCRACIA is about choices, the democratic decision-making involves people expressing a preference for one option over the others and the final decision, reflecting those preferences. So, for the Ethiopians to rule they must have a call to their preferences weighed equally when a final decision is made. The big question then is how to determine the opinion of the group as a whole. It is only via DEMOCRACIA, a way for every EPRP member to express. 


In EPRP, decisions are arrived collectively by all members after some discussion of the alternative and without recourse to vote. When such methods are adopted by more formal group this is known as participatory democracy, alias known as a Collective Leadership in EPRP’s, vocabulary.

What is wrong with this type of leadership and follower ship? EPRP is a model for this.  Let us debate, before we indulge in making a choice of that group, organization or party. EPRP is about pursuing issues and interest for oneself, community and society at large.   How do we accomplish this? That is the issue. Democracia for our people not for the government in Power!!! Let us share our experiences and publish it or let us perish forever.

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*** This is food for thought.
   

 For comments and criticisms : woldetewolde@yahoo.com

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 4:29 am  Comments (5)