TPLF (EPRDF)—HARDLY GOOD MIDWIFE FOR THE FUTURE DEMOCRATIC ETHIOPIA PART II- By Genet Mersha, March

March 30th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

At the end of Part I of my article, The People vs. TPLF—Tigrai…Addis Ababa Scale up Defiance of March 23, I closed with an idea from democratic law and legal precedents that voting is a form of free speech. This second part would pick up from there to state my reasons for denying my approval and support for the TPLF (EPRDF). Already the election environment is strained by shenanigans, widespread fears and undue pressure on voters by unfair and illegal vote canvassing. Widespread are ill-treatments, harassment and imprisonment of opposition candidates, party members and their supporters, so report news sources.

Inducing the governing party to such actions is the fact of the challenges to its nearly-year old power is becoming stiffer by the day. Interestingly, other than the above responses, I also see several amateurish efforts to score propaganda point. Last weekend, I read story that was terribly mangled, moving under different titles such as “Stable Ethiopia needs int’l, regional support, European Parliament Foreign Affairs Spokesman” (ENA);

“Stable Ethiopia now needs international and local support” (aiga), “Expect stability if Meles holds on Power” (Ethiopia-news.com), a late coming government-sponsored web page. Zealots have recycled it with their vision.

For instance, that latter web site cut and pasted a copy of that article with the following quote above the title: “If Meles holds on power in the parliamentary elections due this May, the world should expect the stability that he has brought to take deeper root”, European Parliament Foreign Affairs Spokesman.” This gives the impression that the European Parliament either is endorsing or campaigning on behalf of the prime minister. What Ethiopia-news.com suppressed is a qualifier that states “That is why, regardless of the electoral result, Ethiopia needs international backing.” Speaking of the government as a body, the parliamentarian Charles Tannock concludes, “Ethiopia’s leadership throughout the Horn of Africa could bring change in a part of the world that has largely been written off. It is time to give Ethiopia the diplomatic tools it needs.” While the article may have tried to cut on both sides, undoubtedly it has suffered the misfortune of being used for propaganda purposes in two ways.

First, true that Charles Tannock is spokesperson for the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee. However, in his article that reflects his personal opinion as an activist in the European Conservative Reformist (ECR) movement, a tiny minority group within the Parliament, he was speaking neither on behalf of the foreign affairs committee, nor the Parliament to which he has no mandate. By the way, his extended article entitled The Ethiopia Card first appeared on Project Syndicate on 26 March, its reprint appearing on newscotsman.com on March 29. His view rightly reflects growing concern over stability in the Horn owing to tensions in Kenya, dictatorships in the Sudan, and Uganda and rising terrorist danger in death-land, anarchic Somalia, contributing to human insecurity globally.

If indeed latest testimony by Al Qaeda suspect in Saudi Arabia is reliable (World Net Daily, March 28), Ethiopia has already tasted the stings of death in cruel ways in recent blow up of its national carrier over Lebanon and the murder of its innocent citizens. All the more reason for the regime not to seek electoral gains through distortion of such an article, as if it were intended to give endorsement of TPLF (EPRDF)’s candidate, and despite the fact that the article clearly states “regardless of the electoral result.” Surely, Mr. Tannock can hardly escape blame for entertaining the notion that democracy is luxury for Ethiopians. To that effect he wrote, “Who can blame Ethiopians, surrounded by potential enemies, for giving priority to stability and order over Western-style democratic development?” Putting it mildly, not only is this heartlessly insensitive to Ethiopian aspirations for genuine democracy and freedom. It is also an insult.
A view on what the debate is being pushed to achieve
The five rounds of debates between the political parties have shown the ruling party’s audacity insinuating that a single party rule is necessity for Ethiopia, an idea that seems to gain currency from unlikely sources, as the latest The Economist seemed to show. Recall that it started the first debate complaining it has no partner in the opposition to build democracy in Ethiopia, imported language that Israel uses against the Palestinian Authority. While the interest of the regime in ensuring five more years in power has come with all sorts of flavours and intrigues, its efforts to stop genuine competition has been unmistakable, inter alia, by portraying the opposition as guilty in every way possible, as unelectable and unqualified to govern Ethiopia. We heard in the debates to the point of nausea ጥላሸት መቀባት (smear campaign) and their portrayal as fronts for terrorist and foreign agents.

This has not succeeded in disguising the fact that Ethiopia is not where it should have been. As in the past, there are immense sufferings, fear and insecurity; the much-vaunted economic growth and development cannot be substitute for the loss of dignity or recompense for the pains of mistreatment. Ethiopia could have done much better; it should have run faster and further away from its past. It has not happened; TPLF has squandered so many good prospects and opportunities.

In spite of two decades of focus on agriculture, the country is hardly capable of feeding itself. Nearly a quarter of its population is dependent on food aid. In a country where ADLI is supposed to accelerate agricultural development and industry, 15 years later there scarcely is meaningful linkage between the two, or has paved ways and means to overcome problems of investment (domestic and foreign) to allow industries to grow and expand. For instance, in the past 11 years industry has been in a state of stagnation, according to MOFED’s latest macroeconomic report. This is no denial that Ethiopia is relatively better off today than in 1991, 2000 or 2005; its capital assets have increased and GDP growth has been good during the past six years.

Nonetheless, this has not stopped a significant number of the population from slipping into the wide cracks of poverty. Schools have expanded, but the quality of education is miserably poor at both grades level and in institutions of higher learning, one of the causes being the unresolved political problem and the consequent tension between teachers and government. Yes, there is now improved pace in the health sector, however, what are reported as success do not sufficiently differentiate between plan and achievement, thus, reflecting significant variances with international data, especially in maternal mortality, tuberculosis and other transmissible diseases. During its review of health care under MDG, UN recently placed Chad and Ethiopia as worst performers in health, on account of the huge gaps that exist in society. Moreover, the need for thought control has placed Ethiopia at tails end of ICT development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Hear me out; I am not stating this to belittle the important achievements to date in infrastructure building and education expansion. The point I am driving home is Ethiopia could have done better in these twenty years, a season of favourable international resource transfers to the country, a situation without parallel in Ethiopian history. This failure is consequence of TPLF spending 12 out of 19 years in power in its internal struggles; its skidding at every turn over different policy and strategy experiments in search of what suits better its political objectives of single party control and permanence in power.

In terms of attitude, TPLF considers whatever is achieved under its rule as unique and debt to society. It demands public praise and loyalty as a matter of right and reward, oblivious that such is government duty and responsibility, not a favour to citizens. It demands votes by threatening communities to withhold their sustenance. Examine its policies, they are fool of holes; they are driven by its hunger for legitimacy, although it deeply resents and frustrates free and fair competition. Its top down approach hinders public participation in decision-making, including on matters affecting the lives of communities, future of their children; evidence of that is the handing over of fertile lands to foreign companies on 90-year leases, without consulting the rural population, which it considers its base.

This election is time to end such arrogant practices. There is need to strike the right balance between state powers on one hand, and the laws and needs of society, its growth and development and human needs for freedom and dignity on the other. The past two decades have shown that the country has not moved qualitatively in terms of its defence of citizens’ human rights, civil liberties and the dignity of the individual as a citizen with inherent rights. For me, the issue is not supporting this party or that, as some allege. In the debates, the TPLF could have done better, if only it read correctly public sentiments and presented genuine proposals for reform of its governance policies and practices with strong commitment to the rule of law, genuine pluralism of ideas and organisations, tolerance, and mutual respect and ensure the country’s longstanding interests. It did not happen; it has not happened; it cannot happen.

Therefore, my rationale for not supporting TPLF (EPRDF) is premised on holistic criteria, which have convinced me of its unsuitability to be good midwife for the future democratic Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s future lies with accountable and transparent system of governance that would enable its individual citizens and its diverse ethnic groups to live in peace, freedom and equality, with the rule of law as society’s anchor, what we surely know to be, TPLF’s incurable Achilles heel. I make the case, as follows:

TPLF (EPRDF) displays features of multi-party democracy, but in practice it runs dictatorship of single party

Freedom of organisation: By law, in Ethiopia political parties can be formed. Nevertheless, no sooner than it came into force in 1995 that constitutional provision has been replaced by TPLF’s whims and secret practices. The first reason for that is TPLF sees power as its reward for overthrowing the military regime. Experience has shown that it is vehemently opposed to the existence of other political parties or mass organisations outside its umbrella. When these democratic requirements are forced upon it by internal or external pressures, as is the case today, it operates either stealthily to undermine every one or like a well-forecasted tornado demolishes everything along its path.

• Secondly, this is inherent characteristic of TPLF, reinforced at its core by its unyielding loyalty to its Marxist roots as liberation movement, whose guiding principle demands that decisions taken by a few comrades (politburo) or a powerful boss at the top is passed down the ladder to become the ruling idea of society. In the past nearly twenty years, TPLF leaders have been exercising ill-gained veto power over the voice, interests and resources of the Ethiopian people, the apparent motive of which is their permanent control of society. In government this has been reinforced by chapter VIII of the constitution, empowering the prime minister as “…the Chief Executive, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and the Commander-in-Chief of the national armed forces”, with unlimited powers and terms of office.

• Nine months before the 2005 election, the United Nations convened a panel of experts to determine the state and future of democracy in Ethiopia. The findings of the panel proved accurate then, as evidenced by events of the 2005 election and its aftermath, as now by negative development in the run up to the May 23rd national election. Based on information by the expert panel, the report concluded,

“Ethiopia consists of a multiparty democracy whereby the ruling party allows other parties to register, but it does not allow them to compete freely for political power.” It also added, “The regional and local governments of Ethiopia are constituted under a one-party system where voters are assisted by the Government-managed electoral authority to support the election of the ruling party.” Governance Profile of Ethiopia, United Nations, 2004

• Recall from the first debate between political parties at the end of February that all opposition members disagreed with the governing party that there is genuine devolution of power in Ethiopia. In summing that consensus, the representative of EDP said:

“Opposition parties have 165 (?) seats in parliament, each of them having won their woredas (districts) throughout the country. However, not a single opposition party has a woreda or a region to administer; or even kebele to run, let alone seat in cabinet—the unmistakable evidence that Ethiopia is a one party state” [writer’s translation].

• From time to time, TPLF uses well-calibrated shock therapy to reinforce existing fear within society. One such latest ‘treatment’ is the bombshell the prime minister dropped in his oral response to questions by parliamentarians on 18 March, where he said opposition parties that smear the name of his party would be liable to court cases. This is the clearest and most dangerous warning yet to date, aimed at pre-empting any expectations among candidates and citizens that the election would be free and fair and that they could exercise their right of free speech to make their case against the ruling party.

• Another telling example of how TPLF strengthens its hold on power can be demonstrated by using as an example the ongoing dispute between the regime and members of the original Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA). Clearly, since 2008 what we know is that their association has been officially replaced by the government-sponsored Ethiopian Teachers Association. As a union matter, the case continues to be topic of discussion at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is known as case No 2516, involving anti-union activities by the government that is under consideration. Right at this moment, the ILO is waiting for information from government on its implementation of its numerous recommendations.

• Recall that, in resisting TPLF’s attempts to hijack their association from 1992 – 2008, ETA’s leaders were forced to spend their time between prison and court until 2008, when finally the court decided against them. Therefore, after that decision, the government-sponsored ETA has been allowed to stand in their stead, appropriating their name, bank accounts and properties, although it has barely succeeded in supplanting them. That is why there is continuing tension between government and teachers in Ethiopia.

• This case was brought against the government to the ILO by the original ETA and Education International (EI), supported by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL). Their case was resubmitted with additional information in 2009, to which the regime responded denying charges of violating teachers’ rights, violating their human rights, as follows,

“The lawful incarceration of some teachers has nothing to do with the exercise of their rights as members of the ETA or their trade union activities. In this respect, the Government refers to the Committee’s findings in other cases and, in particular, its observation that ‘participation in trade union activities cannot serve as immunity against prosecution for breaches of ordinary criminal laws’. Following street riots and criminal offences perpetrated by extreme wings of opposition parties after the May 2005 elections, several individuals were charged and were brought before courts of law for their direct participation in activities which resulted in loss of lives and wanton destruction of public property. Other individuals were also arrested and detained in 2006 and 2007 for their involvement in a clandestine operation sponsored and run by illegal armed groups based in Eritrea with the declared objective of the forcible overthrow of the constitutional order in Ethiopia.” (ILO Governing Body GB 304/6, para. 987, March 2009)

• Clearly, the above does not answer to what happened from 19992-2005. In the views of the ILO’s tow committees looking into the matter, case No 2516 is not over, especially as those resisting government efforts to dismantle their organisation have re-established themselves as the National Teachers Association (NTA). The regime has refused them right of registration, and joining the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU). In June 2009, NTA representatives attended meetings of ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards, where they were allowed to lodge their complaints, despite government objection to their presence (ILO Provisional Record, 8th Session, 2009 16 PART TWO (Rev.)).

• In response, the Committee observed,

“With regard to the numerous cases of arrests and detention of the original complainant, ETA, members, the Committee notes that the Government reiterates its previous statement to the effect that these arrests and detentions do not relate to their trade union membership, but, rather, some were arrested and detained for their involvement in criminal offences perpetrated by extreme wings of opposition parties after the elections in May 2005, which resulted in loss of life, and others were arrested and detained in 2006 and 2007 for their involvement in clandestine operations sponsored and run by illegal armed groups based in Eritrea. The Committee regrets that the Government’s replies amount to general denial that the arrests and detentions were related to trade union activities and are simply to the effect that the arrests were made for subversive activities, based on ordinary criminal law. The Committee has always followed the rule that, in such cases, the governments concerned should submit further and as precise information as possible in order to enable the Committee to conclude that they are not related to the exercise of trade union activities. The Committee expresses deep concern over the failure of the Government to conduct a full and independent inquiry into the allegations made relating to arrests and detention of trade unionists, particularly in light of the long time that has elapsed since their arrest without any court yet pronouncing itself on the matters and given that those teachers previously arrested on similar charges were finally released without charge by the Federal High Court ruling that they had no case to answer.” (ILO Governing Body GB 304/6, para. 1001, March 2009)

• Last June, when the Committee on the Application of Standards was expecting official report on implementation of its recommendation, government representative decried ILO’s insistence to discuss violations of teachers’ rights. He portrayed the dispute as mere squabble between groups, trivialising the issue with which the Committee was seized with seriousness, as follows:

“[it is] A dispute between two groups of individuals, each claiming to be the legitimate representative of the Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA), which had been in existence since 1949. This dispute was the subject of a long-standing legal battle involving many judicial institutions, from the First Instance Court to the Cassation Division of the Federal Supreme Court. A group of former teachers, supported and financed by external actors, had challenged the legal status of the then new leadership of the ETA. This new leadership had been established following a change of government in Ethiopia and the subsequent introduction of a federal arrangement, under which teachers from all corners of the country were represented. The group, led by some senior supporters of the former military regime, was opposed to the ETA’s reorganization due to a purely political aversion to the country’s new political system. Whereas a diverse political opinion within an organization was acceptable, and even supported, this group rejected the legally constituted body and chose not to surrender the ETA premises and property under its possession. A legal process was thus triggered over the legality of representation, and the handing over of premises and property.” (PR No. 16B (Rev.) June 18, 2009)

• The Committee was not pleased, with that government response, which did not include any actions to resolve the problem. Consequently, at its meeting held on 19 June 2009, the Committee concluded,

“Recalling that the matters raised in this case concerned repeated and grave violations of the Convention, the Committee urged the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure the registration of the National Teachers’ Association without delay so that teachers were able to fully exercise their right to form organizations for furthering and defending their occupational interests. The Committee further expressed its deep concern at the important and continuing allegations of grave violations of basic civil liberties for which detailed information had yet to be forthcoming from the Government. The Committee strongly urged the Government to guarantee that these workers could exercise their trade union rights in full security and expected that it would carry out full and independent investigations without delay and provide a detailed report to the supervisory bodies on the outcome.” (PR No. 16B (Rev.) June 18, 2009)

• From the foregoing it is possible to conclude that what TPLF has been doing all these years is not any different from the Dergue’s. It is committed to single objective of using mass organisations as tools toward its goal of permanent domination of society. In so doing, the Dergue left the people without means to build civil society organisations. This suited the TPLF, which found people without any mechanism to defend their interests against its tyrannical onslaughts of their freedoms and democratic rights.

• Consequently, in furtherance of that, TPLF strategists as of January 2, 2010 have come with a new mechanism to ensure their continuity, which would adversely affect integrity of the election. They have successfully orchestrated formation of ‘coalition of civil society organisations’, preparing to deploy 40,000 election observers throughout the country. One such civil society organisation is ETA; it is also secretary of the coalition. Therefore, a body whose integrity is under questioning, at least, internationally for its usurpation of the rights and properties of the original ETA, with the help of its sponsor, the government, which is also accused of violating the right of assembly, organisation and human rights of teachers under ILOcase No.2516.
• Why should we be suspicious of the role of some of these ‘civil society organisations’? We already know the coalition’s attitude, for instance, regarding the presence during the election of foreign observers. Read carefully and reflect on what Ato Kassahun Follo, vice president of the new coalition and president of CETU, who told the Reporter: “ከውጭ ታዛቢዎች በተሻለ ያገባናል የምንል እኛ ነን፤ ከእኛ በላይ ምስክርነት ሊሰጡ አይችሉም፤ ተመሳሳይ ዓላማ ይኑረን እንጂ በመታዘብ ላይ ከእነርሱ ጋር እኩል ሳይሆን ከእነርሱ በላይ እንሠራለን፡፡ብቃቱም፣ ችሎታውም፣ ኃላፊነቱም አለን፡፡” (“We say this task concerns us more than it does foreign observers. They cannot be better observers than we are. Whereas we share with them common objectives on this mission, not only would we do the task of observing the election like them, but better than they do. We have the skills, the capacity and the responsibility” (writer’s translation).

• The texture of this bristling language sounds familiar; as can be expected, it is taken from one of TPLF’s instructional manuals on election observation to local observers. For my solace, compare the above with the statement of EPRDF’s spokesperson Sekou Ture Getachew of March 21 to the Reporter and tell me I was overreacting. He said, “ታዛቢዎች ከውስጥም፣ ከውጭም መኖራቸው ጥሩ ሆኖ፣ በዋነኝነት ግን የአገር ውስጥ ታዛቢ የራሱን ሥራ ስለሚገመግም፣ የእርሱ ትዝብት ወሳኝና ጠቃሚ ነው”. (“While the presence of local and foreign observers may be good, on the main, however, the presence of local observers is decisive and beneficial, as they would be in a position to review their work constantly” (Reporter, writer’s translation).

• It is imperative that local observers are and under normal circumstances, they are known to do marvellous jobs, as it is something that would affect society as a whole and them individually. Nonetheless, how free would government-sponsored civil societies be? Would they give precedence to societal interests and their conscience over the demands of their party for their loyalty, which is stern on such matters? As the emergence of the government-sponsored ETA has shown, some or most of them may become camouflage for the mass presence of those with party missions as election observers, with instructions to enable the party prevail over its opponents. For the ruling party, by definition the opposition side is a front for subversive anti-Ethiopian organisations, Derguists, anti-democracy elements, Eritrean agents and representatives of foreign interests, bent on undermining Ethiopian independence and its assertiveness! That is what the TPLF is banking on at the moment.

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BY WAY OF RESPONSE TO DILWENBERU NEGA et al

In his article “Genet Mersha’s bigotry is a photo negative of the late Kinijit’s Tigreanophobia, 24th March, aigaforum.com, the above-mentioned gentleman engaged in unnecessary vitriol, thus, misrepresenting the content and import of my article, “THE PEOPLE vs. TPLF (EPRDF): TIGRAI, ADDIS ABABA…SCALE UP DEFIANCE” of 23 March (nazret.com, tecolahagos.com, ethiogauardian.com, ethioquest.com, abugida.com, ethiopianmediaforum). The allegations are baseless, I must say, intended to serve the pleasure of his gallery to which his very well attuned. What is troubling is, as if possessed by some spirit, he spat fire all over, alleging that “Genet swings from making a racist slur against Tigreans to making unsubstantiated accusations on the continuing electoral process.” Even almost invoking a Nazi era parallel, he went on to say, “Her perfervid anti-Tigreanism pushes her so hard that she just stopped short from equating Tigreans with the German Herrenvolk (‘master race’ or ‘aristocratic race’).”

Let me first of all say, how horrified I am by his ludicrous charge of racism, and “perfervid anti-Tigreanism”. Notwithstanding his ignorance of the meaning of ‘racism’, I would relate to him what someone told me some time ago about similarities between TPLF and a whip. He said, they share common characteristic: both of them habitually lash and feign being hurt. In case, Dilwenberu could not understand the message of my article, despite his ostentatious word-smithery and proclivity to linguistic pomposity, the article right from its title is applauding the determination of the residents of Tigrai (towns listed in its body) and Addis Ababa for exercising their right to choose hoping to quench their thirst for genuine democracy and freedom. In terms of substance, it states,

“Imagine for a moment, the people weathering off incessant threats on their jobs and livelihoods, concerted and violent actions to stop them. They [the residents of Mekelle, Tembein, Adowa, Axum, Addis Ababa…] came to the meetings and opened up a window of opportunity to heal and renew the deep and longstanding familial ties between Tigreans and other Ethiopians, which TPLF’s self-serving ethnic politics has strained for some time now for its ends. I do hope in earnest that March 14 has set in motion the process of its renewal on a more firm course” (THE PEOPLE vs. TPLF (EPRDF): TIGRAI, ADDIS ABABA…SCALE UP DEFIANCE).

What gives the gentleman stomach ache there? If racism could apply to Tigreans, why has he not accused me of the same against Addis Ababans that are referenced in the same article, the same line and in the same breath? Yes, if he is bothered by the article making strong distinction between Tigreans and TPLF, tough luck, it is a different story. Then he is right to react as such, preferably without his ‘racism’ disgrace, since exercise by the people of their freedom to choose and determine how and by whom they should be governed affects his livelihood and future as TPLF’s paid stringer. In that case, sorry to disappoint him, I cannot be of any help there. Now that he has falsely and wrongly accused me of racism, what should he be? He is an authentic clone of a crooked lawyer, who would get his criminal client off the hook by all means under the sun, but legally and truthfully and on innocence criterion.

As to my alleged “unsubstantiated accusations on the continuing electoral process,” I refer him to re-read what I wrote above. Not only Ethiopian citizens have become wary and critical of TPLF, but also the regime’s foremost backers. They are now upfront in their unsparing castigation of the worsening harassment of the opposition, which is intensified as the rush to the finish line has gained momentum. I say to my friend, “Forget about democracy”, borrowing the title of The Economist of 25 March. It should show him what the world thinks of the regime’s claim of commitment to free and fair election and democracy-building.

That must also be racism, Dilwenberu, isn’t it? The people in power must be panicking about the challengers they are facing in this election. They accuse everyone left and right of conspiracy against mother Ethiopia at one time and alleging campaign against TPLF’s pursuit of independent policies at another. Sorry love! At least, for one, that is not the testimony of African attendees at the Copenhagen Conference of last December! Shouldn’t they too be racists, using your logic my dear Dilwenberu Nega?

  1. alula
    | #1

    what ethiopian say about ISSAYAS the GREAT
    know you guys will fart by this post but it is true Issayas would have done based his record in Eritrea the last 20 years.

    If Issayas was Ethiopia PM 20 years ago, he would not give away Ethiopian lands to Sudan despite he was financed his struggle by Sudan.

    Issayas would not sale Ethiopian lands to foreign countries at any cost, rather he could have mobilize all Ethiopians to work harder and brought a lot of tractors and push Ethiopian skilled people to work in the fields and eradicated starvation from the face of Ethiopia 10 years ago.

    Issayas could not accept any donations or beg any country on behalf of Ethiopia, he rather produces enough crops to feed all Ethiopians and export the extra crops produced in the country.

    Issayas would not the slave of American and invaded Somalia for the interest of America rather he may take over the whole Somalia and united with Ethiopia to stabilize the region.

    Issayas would not allow any Ethiopian to loot Ethiopian treasuries and allow anyone to import fancy goods from abroad by embezzling Ethiopian hard currency reserve.

    Issayas would never install his wife to run any company as CEO

    Issayas would not allow any foreign religions other than the traditional religions existed for centuries in Ethiopia.

    Issays would not allow all the Mosque built in every corner of Addis Ababa and other cities around the country.

    Issayas would not allow Idol and break dance the ghetto culture and weird hair style our men have today in Ethiopia to destroy the youth brains.

    Ethiopia could have been in a good hand and strong father, not orphan fatherless Ethiopia today.

    Ethiopia would not have paid over $10 billion dollars for port fees since we would have our own ports.

    ONLF, OLF TPDM, EPP, G7 and others would not have existed today and making all the troubles Ethiopians are facing and spending all the resources and death of so many people in those regions.

    Ethiopia would not have war against Shaebia and wasted over $3 billion dollars and over 100k Ethiopians died and buried at the borders.

    Most likely Issayas could have change Ethiopian national language from Amharic to English to accommodate all ethnics on fare ground to advance Ethiopian youths.

  2. ENOUGH
    | #2

    Abviously the West’s translation for democracy is totally different,than what it really means.Democracy meant to help the poor people,working for the people who put you in power,not the other way around.The west purposly put these African killers and dictators in power so they can kill their people and sell Africa’s resources for cheap to their masters the west.I am sick and tired of this same old same movie.Africans we need to stand together and topple all these African Monkey leaders and let us rule our own Continent.

  3. USA is anti democract in ethiopia
    | #3

    How much millions did this lair get from weyane’s hand? Some westren hypocrtaes must take off their bloody hand from ethiopian’s issues.

  4. Mezgebe Berhe
    | #4

    Excellent, Genet haftey! Hammer that banda on his head! He is Meles’s cadre,I know these crooks and hodams who know nothing but their belly like adgi! Shamers! Remember, Genet, it is the habit of these bandas and sons of bandas to label you with their dirt. They give you what they are.
    That is the culture of the Meles-Sibhat known for quite a long time.
    Yours in Ethiopia and Ethiopians! Keep up with the great work!

  5. Getachew
    | #5

    Bravo, Genet.
    Dilwenberu and his ilk really do not believe what they say and write. They are just trying to impress their masters by how far they go to protect them. Another shameless pimp just went on VOA and categorically denied that there is any hunger in Ethiopia. These words were uttered by the one and only Aba Mela of the Civility Forum.
    I don’t know how peacefully they sleep, these shameless pimps.

    Sorry for the language.

  6. ጎርፉ
    | #6

    አሉላ አንተ ወስላታ ነህ መችም ባንዳ አዪደለህ የውጭ የዉጪው በማስታወስ ነው ኩራት የኢሰማህ ዪሳያስ ፕርዘዳንት ቢሆን እይልክ ትንሽ ያው የተለመደ ቅዠትህን የቡና ስኒህን ዪዘህ አባ ከዘብራ ትላለህ ዪሳያስና መለስ እንኩአን አገር መንደር ማስትዳደር አይችሉም ትዝዪልሃል ሜዳ እንደተነበረ ዪሳያስ እነ ለአለም አቀፍ የልባደሩ እንቅስቃሰ ቻዲስ ጥንሰ ሃሳብ ያወጣ ስልሆነ ሀውልት ከነማርክስ እንገልስ ማኦ ጋር መሰራት ዪገባዋል እያለ ቡራከረዩ ሲል እናንተ ባልገሮችሁ ተጋዳልይ ደግሞ ዪሄን እንደ እዉንት ይዛችህ መተኛ አሳጥታችሂሁን ነበር ብዙም አልቆየም ከስልጣን ቡዋል ሁለተኛ ምንጥራውን አክሀደ የመጅመሪያው የመንካአ ምንጠራ ሲሆን ሁለተኛው ደግሞ አስመራ ከተያዘ ቡዋላ ያለ ምንጠራ ነው ጉዋደኞቹን የሚገድለውን ገድሎ የሚያስረዉን ደግሞ አሰረ ዐሁንደግሞ አንተ የዚያ የባላገር ተጋዳላይ ርዝራዥ ሰልሆንክ “ዪሳያስ ዬኢትዮጵያ ትረዘዳንት ቦሆን ኖሮ’ ስማ ደነዝ!!!! ዪሳያስ የኢትዮጵያ ፕረዘዳንት ሊሆን አይቺልም እናንተ ዪን አምልኮት ተዉ አልተባላቺሁም ነበር እንዴ–ወይ ግርም

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    Selam sister Genet,

    I read your article with interest. You have many great points, if there was no hate or conflict at home, I wish you could be at home and do good things.

    For me it does not really matter what the spokesman for EU says or what the ILO do .

    I think we need to stick with context developed in Ethiopia by Ethiopians that enable each Ethiopian to live with dignity and peace. That is my dream for Ethiopia.

    You would like the regime in Ethiopia to be democratic like in the west? That was good wish, but I think we Ethiopians are obssessed with copying and experimenting ideas, notions, systems originated somewhere which have neither historical or social link with Ethiopian norm.

    When I says this I do not mean to say we do no need freedom. Our people needs freedom before anything else. However, I personally believe that our freedom must be realized by ourselves based on the rule of love and mutual respect regardless how we look, what languages we speak and what ethnic we belong. I do not believe our freedom can be realized by EU or American or UK,… any other external agents’ influence.

    Although I oppose Meles Zenawi administration 100 %, I completrely differ with diaspora Ethiopians who rally on westerns streets year after year and brings no change. I guess our people do not understand how this world works. I think the global politics is much more complex than toytoying at Downing street around the house of commons or somewhere around washington. Ethiopians have been rallying for 20 years singing the same song all the time. Calling the unfortunate name ofMeles Zenawi. From my life experience I do not believe any violence whether it is verbal violence or toytoying can help us to realize our freedom. We can realize our freedom only if we unite with love and stand together against any injustice regardless who commits the injustice.

    However, the strategy of toytoying on the streets of other countries to realize our freedom is vain and futile , and wasteful of energy.

    I live now with Iranians who really have a serious problem with thier government, I do not see them toytoying on the streets of any country begging other country to give them freedom on a silver plate. Our people are unique in doing this business. Meles begs food every year from the west. Diasporas beg freedom from the west. I have come to believe now every Ethiopian has adopted begging as one way of life no matter where we are.

    By doing this, the diaspora Ethiopians are working for Meles without thier knowledge. If we were to love each based on equality and respect neither Mengistu nor Meles would have reigned Ethiopia the way they want. Our politics is based on hatred than on good faith.

    For instance, we are not able to indentify problems and work on them. Our aim is to get rid of the people whom we hate. We have no blue prints and agendas how to solve our problems. All these things are complicating our problem than solving our problem. I do not know when will we Ethiopians realize our follies and free ourselves from our follies. I do not think we can liberate Ethiopia by toytoying around the house of commons. We are actually complicating the lives of opposition at home. For instance, Birtukan was released like everyone else, but the ignorant diasporans pushed her to say things which has put her back in Kaliti and now she is languishing in prison. And still the blame is still on the unfortunate Meles Zenawi. There is no taking stock of ones own follies. Meles Zenawi has to be burdened with everything. And everyone go away with it. That is the reason everyone in Ethiopia goes away like that. If we are yearning for freedom, we must start from ourselves and pay due respect to the freedom of others. No one can claim freeedom by robbing the freedom of others. Where I live even criminal freedom is respected. Criminals are given what they deserve in the court room.

    Demonizing people who are already demons will not make them angels.

    The other thing, you mentioned ILO,what does ILO has to do with democracy? Is it not the United state which is number one country that does not subject itlself to ILO? I think we are also confused here. We are mixing different ideologies and we want Meles to take all our mixtures. You wanted him to be democrat and at the same time to be answerable to ILO? I think we need to be one thing than everything.

    ILO has no power anywhere in the democractic countries including where I live. Thus sister Genet, you need to choose really what ideology you are following. Our people cannot be whatevery one says. Mengistu and his followers coerced our people to be communists and Meles is coercing our people to be what he wants us to be. I feel you are doing the same too.

    It is possible to realize freedom in Ethiopia if and only if we respect each othe and start working together. It is foolishness and complete ignorance to believe that Ethiopians will realize freedom by condemning some Ethiopians whom we hate. I believe you are not in the hate house.

    According to me, let even Mengistu Hailemariam go home and live in peace. We need a national healing than hate toy-toying on the streets of other countries. We need to realize, there are some people who get hurt by it and even that yields more counter productive and repression. When we wish for Ethiopians freedom, we must be also work wisely towards freedom. I can only harvest good seeds if I sow good seeds. If sow weeds I will harvest weeds. This means we need to examine our actions does not produce more counter productive repressions.

    Because we demonize people on the streets of london does not really mean we will be taken seriously. It can actually make people question our maturity and put us in a weak position than in a strong position.

  8. Genet Mersha
    | #8

    Mr. Anonymous
    I am truly grateful for your considered views, and would like to assure you that I am in full agreement with some of the broad brushes of your thinking especially in terms of the goals for our country. Surely, I disagree with a few of your points, notably the assumptions in there that sets preconditions on everyone. Let me point out a few things for your consideration.

    • I share your dream of a country whereby each Ethiopian is able “to live with dignity and peace.” However, I see from your own writing that you have predicated it that with “we need to stick with context developed in Ethiopia by Ethiopians.” That says a lot! What is that context? I urge you to give some thought to this question from the perspective of those who have different perspectives. For me, that context would have been something I would have loved to embrace and labour for, had it been capable of accommodating differing sentiments and perceptions. Indeed, I was very hopeful for our country as the TPLF focussed on development and had written to that effect. The more that was lauded, however, there came the idea of making it a substitute for everything else—democracy and civil liberties . What you offer as a point to return does not even have semblance of give and take. That is the problem. It simply says “Take what I offer you, or get out!” That is the crux of our national problem at this very moment, as it had been in the past.

    • I agree with you that Ethiopia cannot be itself by copying and pasting the systems of other countries. I never argued that for my country. Yes, we should learn from experiences of others. After all, common to human beings are human needs and aspirations. Top in this list are foods and shelter, freedom, dignity and ability to shape ones destiny. However, where our country fails is by not allowing itself to have possibilities for emergence and development of its own native and innate system of governance and human relations tempered by accommodation in the spirit of give and take within the different constituencies of society, mutual respect, and heightened tolerance. The lack of this in our past and present has relegated many into open disaffection, including resistance by arms inchoate though now, in the manner the TPLF did. Ethiopia needs undivided attention to change its unhappy stigma as a poor country and afflictions of our people. Let us be honest that that “context developed in Ethiopia by Ethiopians” does not seem to up prospects toward that. At present, you know it and I see it, even in the context of the forthcoming election, the growing repression and increasing physical and mental violence. In spite of its important achievements in the economic and social fields, the ruling party does not still see that tightening the screws to ensure its continued stay in power does not do much good either to the country or itself. It only invites more polarisation of society and more violence, eventually barring the country from achieving its goal of improving the lives of citizens! I do not wish that, nor do I think any Ethiopian wants that. I must tell you that the dilemma one finds herself is very strong.

    • I agree with you that foreign powers do not have the magic to give us our freedom and democracy. Nowhere has imposition from outside ever succeeded doing that. However, the international community has a system of expected norms of behaviour and action from each of its member governments. It often endeavours to see these norms to be shared and applied by everyone. It is not often successful in that endeavour, especially when the big ones themselves become a bad model for the weak ones. Otherwise, that was the case in respect of apartheid, colonialism, child labourers and soldiers and slaver, etc. The League of Nations forced Ethiopia to choose between membership of the community of nations or its practices of slavery. It worked; Ethiopia legislated and stamped out slavery. Where there have been severe violations of human rights and denials of rights and freedoms of citizens by a government, it is a pledge by countries of the world in the form of conventions and declarations they undertook upon themselves to work together to find common solutions. What do you think are ambassadors in Ethiopia doing in engaging the Ethiopian government about the dos and don’ts of the election or situations of human rights in the country? Didn’t the TPLF invoke this in its campaigns in Europe and America to win support against the Dergue? Bilaterally friendly governments speak of their concerns and supports in encouraging the good and discouraging the bad. In that respect, I consider it essential and helpful. Nonetheless, whether how and what specific methods should be used should be judged by experience and effectiveness, not making it a routine, just because it is possible to use it. Are you aware that those with different perspectives cannot go out in demonstration to make their protests or opposition to something known?

    • As far as demonising of individuals is concerned, I share your view. Demonization would only take away possibilities for making ones point of view. The focus should not be an individual and his personality. If this Meles goes, there comes another Meles. Such noise may give a sense of satisfaction, because of its value as an emotional release. Nevertheless, as a famous sociologist once said, emotion is only hot air—emotions—which simply narrow the field of human consciousness—of both the source and the receiving end because of his responses. Criticisms based on facts and seasoned arguments are more effective—although it often encounters problems of articulation by the source or inability to accept on the receiving side. Can arguments that conflict the party position be allowed in Ethiopia, without some form of negative consequences to or coercion on the arguer? That is the whole point of human needs for uniqueness, mental freedom and unimpaired sense of security! This is not copying this model or that. I even resent very much when politicians or aficionados of ideological labels use such terms as liberal or neoliberal to put such freedoms and rights to one or another corner. For me, it is a human need, even to a diehard communist!

    • The other thing, you asked is what” the ILO has to do with democracy “, as reference to my mentioning of Case No. 2516, the ongoing dispute between Ethiopia and the ILO. By the convention on labour rights for union, the ILO has been empowered to investigate such problems and recommend solutions. Ethiopia has signed the convention and ratified it. That is why it is now engaged in debating the case at the Organisation. It deals with the problems that over 60,000 teachers have with the government and the takeover of their organisation by the one the government has constituted.

    • I strongly believe that such rights are an aspect of democracy. Instead the government could have worked with members of the association as a group and individuals. For government, seizing and controlling should not the ultimate goal, as it is now for the TPLF. In my article, that reference actually highlighted the problem of unions and civic societies being independent from government in Ethiopia, as they should have been. They would have been a helping hand to government in its effort in realising its fulfilment of the obligations it has assumed in the convention, i.e., enforcement of labour rights, which is an element in building democracy. Is it not for a vision of control that government has now cobbled up coalition of ten civil society organisations favourable to itself? At the same time, I discussed the very serious problem of quality of education, partly as a reflection of the ongoing tensions between teachers and government.

    • Finally, in this context we discussed, I would leave you with the unfulfilled promise Ato Meles made to American academics and intellectuals when he addressed them at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D. C. in November 1995. He said his, “government needs a vigorous opposition to keep it honest and efficient, just as the Dergue kept the TPLF healthy and alert.”

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    Ilo is an element of communist ideodoloy, not an element of democracy. Ilo has no place in the USA. If ILO and neoliberal democracy does not go together.

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