ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY – Mankelklot Haile Selassie (PhD)
It is up to us to take any opportunity that comes along and capitalize on it effectively and efficiently, because the economic and political situation of Ethiopian people demands it, unconditionally. Stop whining, think positively and go forward with full force, relying on what the society is capable to accomplish.
In my opinion, from reading and listening to what people write and say about the signing of the document, it seems to me, we seriously lack looking at issues by putting ourselves outside the box we are in. That is exactly what I did. I deliberately removed Meles Zenawi and the regime from my mind and decided to see whether the people of Ethiopia would benefit from this election process setup. Simply put, compartmentalization. Folks, unless one is able to rationalize and approach the momentous course of history changing opportunities, without emotion, one would damage, perhaps irreversibly, for foreseeable future the process of the struggle. Therefore, I humbly suggest to you to read the signed document very critically and examine your position. Let us ask ourselves, what it is we want specifically to take place. Do we really know what we want and how it should be fulfilled?
The other additional benefit by winning the election of 2010, if one thought seriously and deeper, would be avenging those who were killed by Meles Zenawi and his collaborators. It is also insuring the release of all political prisoners who are languishing in jail. Therefore, signing the document does not mean abandoning these issues that are in the hearts of the Ethiopian society. On the contrary. Think deeper. Simply chest beating does not help.
Inside Ethiopia, the opposition political forces are actively struggling by accepting the constitution of TPLF. That is, to pursue peaceful political struggle as opposed to armed political struggle. Therefore, their only instrument of struggle, as long as they are on this legal forum, is, the use of election. Election is their armaments. Of course, unless they resorted for an insurrection. Another full-fledged alternative by itself.
Here is what I indicated as to the importance of participating in the election in Ethiopia, in the article of Sept. 22, 2009, titled, Election the Instrument of Struggle:
“Those in Ethiopia, in the field, where the struggle is taking place, have no choice but to participate in the coming election of 2010. I argue that for those who are struggling under the “constitution“ of TPLF, the only instrument at their disposal to remove the regime is election. If not using the only instrument they have, then what? The stumbling block, between the opposition and the reaching out to the society, hence the full participation in the election, has to be removed by using any method necessary. It is up to the opposition forces to create the device to overcome the stumbling block. It is a fact that the regime’s position is not to let the opposition forces win. TPLF is blunt about it.”
Hence, since election in Ethiopia is part and parcel of the political struggle as opposed to the conventional political competition, it is a must to come up with a specified and detailed negotiated agreement between the parties participating in the election, as to how to conduct the election of 2010, starting from the campaign, up to, and including the very day of the election. What we just witnessed, that is, the signing of the detailed and specified code of conduct that deals with the process of the election, is, part of the package of using election as an instrument of political struggle. In my opinion, it is the ultimate vehicle for strategy and tactics combined to be used by individual political parties.
Given the above rationalization, then, the most important matter that one has to be concerned about seriously, should not be, who signed the document, which is absolutely irrelevant and cheap, but, whether the signed document includes all the necessary elements the unfettered democratic election should have. The signed negotiation contains all the necessary elements except it is lacking specified international observers. It appears, what I suggested in the article of Sept. 22, 2009, titled, Election the Instrument of Struggle, is generally contained in the signed document. In the article of Sept. 22, 2009, I suggested to use two instruments of struggle, namely, rebel before election and rebel after election. Here is what is discussed under rebel before election:
“Once an opposition force(s) is determined to challenge the ruling party TPLF, at any sacrifice, start with the demand for the regime to fulfill all the requirements that satisfy the election process. The election process encompasses activities from the very beginning of the preparation to the last day of the election. The demand should also suggest the process to be peaceful and to go smoothly. The demand aught to be for unfettered election process. Let the government and non-governmental international organizations be aware of the demand submitted to the regime. If the ruling regime does not comply with the demand, particularly with the non-negotiable demands that have to do with the right of the opposition forces a must to have, then the opposition force is in its right-full position to call for demonstration whether it is legal or not. Here, the demonstration to be effective, it has to continue until the demand is satisfied. That is why it is called Rebel before election.”
As long as what are specified and detailed in the signed negotiation document are implemented to the letter, starting from the campaign, up to, and including the very day of the election, it appears that there is no need to kick in rebel before election against the regime. Therefore wait and see what would take place between now and the election day.
The other equally critical aspect of election 2010 is whether TPLF would accept the result of the election. Here too, the signed document clearly indicates that the parties involved will accept the result of the election. If TPLF does not accept the result of the election, as it clearly stated in its political program, revolutionary democracy, assuming it is going to lose the election, then the instrument called rebel after election can be kicked in. Here is what is discussed in the article of Sept. 22, 2009, titled, Election the Instrument of Struggle:
“Let us assume, either, a) due to the Rebel before election, or, b) due to accepting the demand submitted by the opposition forces, the regime fulfilled the democratic requirements before the election and the election took place. Let us also assume the opposition parties won the election as in May 15, 2005. Based on what the TPLF stated in its political program, it will not give in. It will repeat what it did in the election of May 15, 2005. Then, this will be the time to use Rebel after election. Here too, once people started to protest by coming out to the streets, it has to continue until the regime surrenders. Perhaps, if the intensity overwhelmed the regime, then there will be a good opportunity to remove it by people’s power. The intensity refers to persistency and the high number of participants. Let us not forget the three million that came out to demonstrate on May 9, 2005. So, there is the potential to repeat it. Of course this would be the critical juncture where determined leadership is required. Perhaps, what we do not realize is that a war is going on in Ethiopia today, between the regime, which should be considered as an invading power, and the people of Ethiopia. In a war the primary concern is how to fight with the right strategy to win the war, not the sacrifices, inevitable to follow, as it is part and parcel of any war.”
Finally, if the election went according to the signed document, the oppositions are guaranteed to win the election of 2010 and change the course of history. For example, All Ethiopian Unity Party, AEUP, one of the signatories, has an already established network among the society from the election of 2005. Therefore, seven months are quite sufficient campaigning time to defeat Meles Zenawi and his collaborators. Therefore, let us decide and commit ourselves to winning in this election of 2010 and remove this invading party, TPLF. Here is an important terminal point. It is incumbent upon the opposition forces not to let the regime steal away the election 2010as it did with the election of May 15, 2005. It is up to the opposition forces to simultaneously prepare the society for coming out and defend its God given right.