The 2010 Ethiopian Election: a mockery and a playing field for another tragedy – Neguse Gamma
“Governments that respect the will of their own people that govern by consent and not coercion are more prosperous, they are more stable and more successful than government that do not. (more…)
“Governments that respect the will of their own people that govern by consent and not coercion are more prosperous, they are more stable and more successful than government that do not. This is about more than just holding elections. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves– No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end. ——”
President Obama – Addressing the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra July 11, 2009
The repressive EPRDF/TPLF government in Ethiopia is tyrannical having no gesture of hope to alleviate poverty, fight against famine and bring about economic development, strengthen social welfare, peace and political stability. This is for the fact that the regime disrespects the will of the people.
Thomas Hobbes stated that ‘ a Subject has the right to abandon a ruler who can no longer protect him and to transfer his allegiance to one who can.’ Meles and his authoritarian government are unable to ensure prosperity of the country and its people ever since they gripped the power in 1991. In May 2005, Ethiopians exercised their utmost determination to bring an end to the dictatorial rule. However, the ruling minority junta group betrayed the decisive decision of the people; robbed them of their human, constitutional and democratic rights — and massacred them in a broad day light.
PM Meles Zenawi remained in power through fraudulent and rigged election and is still fighting against the people to further hang himself to the power. The day-to-day activity of the government is in full gear to further manipulate the coming 2010 national election through all means.
Famine, food shortage, exorbitant price increase of food supplies, lack of sufficient power supply, shortage of industrial raw materials and construction materials,…..disease and malnutrition, infrastructure development and economic dependency, tribal and religious conflicts, unemployment and quality of social services….none of them are significant concerns of the government.
Here it is worth mentioning, that at a public meeting recently held in London UK House of Commons,” Human Rights, Peace and Development in Ethiopia”, an invited MP witnessed PM Meles and his government’s endeavour to wipe out opposition party members other than work to do away with poverty.
This is the current reality that any body could come across. EPRDF/TPLF is preoccupied in weakening the unity and strength of opposition parties to restrict/stop their participation in the upcoming 2010 election.
Including Birtukan Midekessa, Chairperson of Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), quite a number of Ethiopians languish in various prison cells across the country. Harassments, intimidation, illegal detentions and tortures targeting members of opposition groups and citizens are routine activities undertaken by the government in all regions of the country. Freedom of expression and association are totally restricted.
Following the May 2005 election and the subsequent political unrest, an eight-point proposal was made by the opposing party in order to ease the unstable political situation and pave the way for the upcoming 2010 national election. These include: restructuring the National Electoral Board for independency and impartiality, insuring independency of the army, the police forces and the judiciary, allowing equal access of the public media to all political parties and etc.
President Barack Obama, during his speech to the Ghanaian Parliament, has stated that, in the 21st century, capable, reliable, and transparent institutions are the key to success — strong parliaments; honest police forces; independent judges — an independent press; a vibrant private sector; a civil society. Those are the things that give life to democracy, because that is what matters in people’s everyday lives….
The vital eight-point proposal that give life to democracy were rejected by EPRDF/TPLF government, and other than resolving the tense political situation, the Meles regime responded by arresting opposition party leaders, human rights activists, members of the free press and the civic society.
Despite national and international observers’ condemnations the government faced for the electoral fraud, manipulations and irresponsible brutal actions that accompanied the election, the regime does not have the readiness and willingness to review the proposals to make the 2010 election free and fair.
Currently, the EPRDF/TPLF ruling junta not only forcefully retained an undelegated power, but it is blatantly violating the rights of the people in taking unconstitutional measures to undermine long term peace and stability of the nation.
Meles and his ethnic party are systematically destroying and dismantling the country; giving away a vast territory of land to Sudan; selling fertile arable lands to foreign countries even without the consent of his rubber-stamp parliament. The ethnic-fascist authorities are totally corrupt, morally and mentally wicked to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. Meles and his beneficiaries are real enemies with out any remorse and national feeling towards the well-being of the country and its people.
At present, approximately 4-6 million Ethiopians are in need of food aid whereas PM Meles, his few cliques as well as his TPLF economic empire are saving billions of dollars in foreign banks; completely laundering gold reserve and foreign currency of the nation.
The government doesn’t believe in change and democratization. Recently, it has endorsed a law that restrict activities of local human-rights workers and international non-governmental organisations. The law prohibits them from any engagement that has to do with democracy, justice or human rights. These as well as the draconian press law are intentionally protracted to give the government an absolute power to control the forthcoming election.
In a recent article from personal observations, Dr. Negasso Gidada, an opposition MP and former President of the Federal Government, has concluded that the OPDO/EPRDF has totally controlled and dominated the political arena of his constituency, Dembi Dollo, and there could be no level playing field for the opposition in the 2010 election.
On the other hand, the Forum for Democracy and Dialogue (FDD), an alliance of 8 opposition parties known as Medrek, has disclosed that they may boycott the election unless the government is willing to come to a round-table discussion on election preconditions; and also release imprisoned UDJ leader Birtukan Mideksa and other political prisoners.
In such a repressive political atmosphere it is impossible to think of a democratic free and fair election.
Tilting the election playing field in its favour, the ethnic minority government of Meles Zenawi seems once again to succeed in power through electoral fraud and manipulation. Denying the Ethiopian people their human, constitutional and democratic rights, the criminal group in power, other than learn from its past irregularities, is rather more rigidly preoccupied for other tragic situations of bloodshed and conflict; a political unrest that may cost lives of innocent citizens and imprisonment of thousands.
The prophetic speculation made by an intellectual from Addis Ababa University in the early nineties, seems true that Free and Fair democratic election is completely unthinkable under the leadership of Meles Zenawi and his TPLF party.
It is evident and worrisome that the upcoming 2010 election, at all, will not bring any political change except giving the tyrant and his government an aura of legitimacy.
The political situation demands integrated actions from the Ethiopian people, opposition parties, civic societies, international communities, donors and powerful nations in order to make meaningful pressures against the authoritarian government in the remaining few months.
On the other hand, Meles and his party need to realize that when citizens are repeatedly disrespected and denied of their rights and opportunities to change, they may inevitably prefer taking the law into their own hands. Such a critical moment may then be devastating and the damaging consequences may also be enormous.
It has been witnessed that greedy and selfish interest of individuals and groups for power had brought about an irreversible devastation against nations and people. Rigged elections had resulted in tribal conflicts; ethnic cleanings and aggravated genocide.
Therefore, Meles and his immoral minority group need to come to their senses to have the willingness to avoid the enormous damage that they could cause on peace and stability of the country.
Democratisation is not about holding periodical election; but something that demands commitment to its principles/values. They ought to learn from history.
The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group. – Franklin D. Roosevelt