Mob Disrupts UDJ public Meeting!!!! – Dr. Negaso Gidada

August 18th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

A mob disturbed a public political meeting of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) this morning (10 A.M) in Adama, Oromia and forced the discontinuation of the meeting. (more…)

A mob disturbed a public political meeting of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) this morning (10 A.M) in Adama, Oromia and forced the discontinuation of the meeting.

The UDJ got permit last week from the Adama (East Shoa) administration and the Adama town Municipality to hold a public meeting. The Municipality even rented its town hall to the UDJ. But the town administration forbid the UDJ from posting posters in the town and from going around in the town to announce about the meeting and invite the public to attend today’s meeting. We were informed that the EPRDF cadres in the Qabales were going around last evening telling the residents not to attend the meeting.

But several hundred residents of Adama came to attend the meeting. Prof. Beyene Petros of the Ethiopian Social Democratic Party, Ato Benyam of the South Coalition, Ato Hadi of the Ethiopian Democratic Unity Movement, Ato Siyye Abraha, former Defense Minister, and my self (all members of the Forum for Democratic Dialogue) were there to attend the meeting as guests of honor.

Around 50 people started to disturb the meeting while Eng. Gizachew Shiferraw, Vice Chairperson of the UDJ was addressing the meeting. The disturbers were shouting, clutching and whistling from the rear of the hall. This mob came up running to the front and damaged a microphone while trying to grab it. They continued to shout: “This is Oromia”, “Oromo is our Language”, “You have to start the meeting by a blessing ceremony in accordance with Oromo culture”, “You can hold the meeting in Oromo language”, “If you do not speak in Oromo language, and you can not hold meetings in our country”. Several people tried to cool down the mob by promising that what is said would be translated in Oromo. However, the mob would not heed to the appeal. It even threatened to beat us up. Eng. Gizachew could not continue his speech. He was forced to announce that the meeting is adjourned because of the disturbance.

This happened at a meeting “permitted” by the administration. This happened in a town hall rented to the UDJ by the municipality. This happened in a country in which the regime claims that there is respect of the law and order. This is in a country in which the ruling party claims that there is respect of the constitution. This is in a country in which the ruling party claims that there is democracy, the respect of democracy and human rights. This is in a country where the constitution provides for the right of using any language and where the members of the federation have promised to respect the federal constitution.

The mob was not a spontaneous disturbing group. There were some OPDO/EPRDF cadres among the mob. I, my self could recognize at leas two OPDO cadres with whom I worked in the organization before I resigned from it in June 2001. It is obvious that the disturbance was an organized one.

For me, this is a clear indication that there is no pre-election leveled playing ground for the political parties in Ethiopia. This confirms that the complaints of the opposition political parties that there is no democratic political space, is true. How can the opposition political parties participate in the coming election process, which may begin in November 2009 if they are not free to move around freely to open their offices, recruit members, and hold public meetings to explain who they are and for what they stand for?

I call on all those who stand for the respect of democratic and human rights, for peace and stability of this country and for economic development of this country do some thing

TODAY and not TOMORROW!!
With best Regards,
Negaso Gidada

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