Endorsing Medrek: Liberal Democracy vs. Participatory Democracy vs. Revolutionary Democracy – By Tecola W. Hagos

May 14th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

I. Background

Professor Teodros Kiros, our distinguished longtime contributor, has argued, in his recent and rather short essay, posted in this Website, about the distinct elements of “participatory democracy” from that of “liberal democracy.” [See Teodros Kiros (Ph.D), “In Defence of Participatory Democracy and against Revolutionary Democracy and Liberal Democracy,” 9 May, 2010]. I did not find the article necessary or enlightening in view of the current neck-and-neck struggle between an entrenched pseudo-fascist Government of Meles Zenawi on one side and the Ethiopian opposition represented by the badly outspent, battered, and gutted opposition such as Medrek.

It is unfortunate that Teodros saw the importance of bringing up, especially at this late hour, some academic distinction between “participatory democracy” and the “liberal democratic” tradition as a major issue, which I am afraid is rather a “storm in a kettle.” I am concerned because of his timing; he would only succeed in polarizing the issue that should be kept distinct between the opposition and the posturing of the current Government of Ethiopia. It is also unfair to group a democratic group like Medrek along with a fascist political organization like EPRDF on one side in apposition to “participatory democracy.” It would confuse and weaken the strength of the overall democratic aspiration of the people of Ethiopia now that they may have to think of another possibility that maybe taken into account in the choice that they might have to make soon.

Participatory democracy is not as clean cut as it is suggested in the article by Teodros. It has its origin in the elements that led Trudeau to win in Canada in the late 60s–populism. [Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from 20 April 1968 to 4 June 1979, and again from 3 March 1980 to 30 June 1984.] In fact, one scholar who studied the phenomenon labeled it as a “pseudo-liberal rhetoric,” [Paul Litt, “Trudeaumania: Participatory Democracy in the Mass-Mediated Nation,” Canadian Historical Review, Volume 89, Number 1 / March 2008.] and it is known also by several euphemistic names too, such as “social democracy,” “progressivism” et cetera. However, one must not forget the fact that all of the ideas of “participatory democracy” are first and foremost democratic ideals of which liberal democracy is fully in sink. It is only the degree of the channel of participation that is in question whether to keep it open as wide as the entire population or have into the system safety valves to direct, in the best interest of the society at large, all that gushing of energy from the general public.

Especially in the Ethiopian setting, where almost every concept of democracy is in the raw, unsophisticated and rustic, in giving certain responsible groups the benefit of the judgments of “the market” to work to their benefit is not that harmful. It reminds me the philosophical works of John Rawls that distributive justice may indeed benefit some even more than others, but the bottom line is that it raises the minimum benefit to all as a base from where to start. And this is much better structure than pushing everyone to a base standard that is drastically lower if we think of using “participatory democracy” as our measuring rod in an Ethiopia where we are fighting fascism.

II. Endorsement of Medrek

After careful studying of the minimum program of Medrek, and after analyzing the many speeches and presentations of the Leaders of Medrek, both here in the United States and in Ethiopia, and most importantly after listening to the Debate of the Representatives of the Ruling Party [EPRDF] and several of the Opposition parties including Medrek, We at this Website have decided to endorse Medrek as the Party-Group that represents the best and vital interest of Ethiopia. We are confident Medrek will heal the many wounds inflicted during the last thirty five years on our Ethiopia. Especially we are cognizant of the fact of the seventeen years suffered under the brutal regime of Mengistu Hailemariam with his Red Terror murderous rampage where no less than one hundred thousand innocent Ethiopians were murdered, which was followed by eighteen years of no less brutal and destructive regime led by Meles Zenawi where the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia was seriously breached and its wealth looted.

We call upon all Ethiopians to set aside their ethnic based affiliations and their animosities, and support Medrek in all legally acceptable ways. This is the one chance, among many we had unnecessarily squandered, where we could be able to channel the course of our future history. Our single enemy is in the Person of Meles Zenawi, with his close associate. I even dare to say the Members of the TPLF are not our enemies, they are simply trapped in a mafia type structure where they are unable to exercise their democratic rights as Ethiopian Citizens. They are forced into adopting a divisive Ethnic identity that challenges and fractures our historic Motherland. The same could be said to each member of the other political Parties in the EPRDF. All such Members must know that there is a great life after Meles Zenawi and his criminal organization setup.

We call upon Professor Mesfin Woldemariam to abandon his very unpopular pursuit of political ambition and find a way to settle his disagreement with the current Leaders of Medrek and stop being a spoiler and endorse Medrek right now. We call upon Engineer Hailu Shawel and other opposition leaders that signed the subversive Code of Conduct, to reestablish working relationships with Medrek and lead a civilized discourse and competition. There is no need for animosity for short term advantages to destroy or handicap any other Opposition group, such as Medrek, such siding or working with Meles Zenawi would only subvert the long term interest of the nation. Most of all such groups must not be used as instruments by Meles Zenawi in order to undermine other opposition groups such as Medrek.

We must not forget that there is another day after the national election of May 28, 2010. We have faith and unwavering confidence in the people of Ethiopia in their wisdom, courage, and generosity of spirit that Ethiopia will prevail and prosper.

God Bless all Ethiopians wherever! God Bless Ethiopia!

Tecola W. Hagos

Washington DC

May 13, 2010


  1. atuba dolla
    | #1

    Yes,indeed;God bless Ethiopia.We don’t trust EPRDF because it is a fascist and mafia organization that we don’t trust it with our homeland.Voters are fully convicnced in great faith because MEDREK will take Ethiopians several stairs to see the bright future.Isn’t it nice.

  2. Bonsor
    | #2

    Mr tekola;
    You can’t be considered as a serious person while you continue to insist that the enemy is in the person of meles. How low can a person go toshow once irrelevance?

  3. Abe
    | #3

    Thank you Professor Tecola for making such a bold desission at this critical time. I hope Other web sites and intelectuals do the same.

  4. Abe
    | #4

    1. Thank you Professor Tecola for making such a bold decision at this critical time. I hope Other web sites and intellectuals do the same.

  5. Abe
    | #5

    Abe :Thank you Professor Tecola for making such a bold decision at this critical time. I hope Other web sites and intellectuals do the same.


  6. RAHEL
    | #6


  7. aha!
    | #7

    This article is nothing more than to add a campaign to support Medrek and the title of the previous article which is “participatory Democracy and Deliberative Democracy”, but not in the way presented by Tecola W. Hagos as “In Defence of Participatory democracy and against Revolutionary Democracy and liberal democracy”. As I understood, Teodros Kiros presented it from the view point of Mederk and defined participatory, deliberative and revolutionary democracy, where the first two pertain to Medrek I believe and the latter to tp TPLF/eprdf, where both of these parties have as their base the underlying ethnic-based agenda which gave rise to ethnic dictatorship. If he prefers that to mean ethnicdemocracy, rather than ethnocray, I tend to agree.

    If it is meant to compare the different ideology followed by the different parties then we have revolutuionary democracy by TPLF/eprdf, Participatory and Deliberative Democray by Medrek?, Social Democracy by EPRP and Liberal Democracy/Ideology by KAEUP, EDP and others. the article is neither a comparison or contrasitng the different ideologies followed by the parties, to say the least that is not the major concern in Ethiopia today over the last 19+ years, is freedom of individuals out of ethnic and secessionist politics and policies and what follows with ethnic dictatorship.

    What Tecola W. Hagos, a previous TPLF/eprdf advisor, is nothing but an endorsement for Medrek, as one of the supporters in the Diaspora, seeking for a better one of the two alternatives, which are mirror images with each other, and asking Hailu to coalesce with Medrek, and degrading the code of Conduct agreement signed by KAEUP, EDP and others, as if collaborating with Medrek achies the goal for unity, territorial integrity, sovergneity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. And while advsing the the supporters to set aside their ethnic differences, he did not tell the parities of loyalist oppostion parties and Tigrai-harena to abandon their ethnic-based politics and policies, talking to the herd than to the herder and making the Ethiopians in the Diaspora feel good by having to chose between two rivals/rivalery parties or individuals, both of which are anchored upon respect of ethnic boundries, ethnicfedralism, rather than state fedralism, respect of ethnic and/or Secessionist rights, rather than individual rights and liberty.

  8. Kane
    | #8

    Hi Abugida,

    I have posted a comment regarding this article vis-a-vis Prof. Kiros’s previous article. I am surprised to find out it is not posted yet after three days. I am presuming you have no intention of posting it at all. What is going on? I know I did not say anythig inflamatory or anything that could be construed as a view coming from EPDRF’s cadres. I wouldn’t have said anythig if it were not for the fact that, when I was browsing the comments posted in discussing one of the articles on May 16th, I saw a comment by an Anonymous person asking why his comment wasn’t posted. See the actual words below:

    “Dear Abugida:
    How come my comment is not posted? I am very surprised! Did I say anything wrong? Is this the kind of freedom you guys are working hard to see in Ethiopia? I am very puzzled! Please reply to my e-mail berhem@comcast.net

    Thank you very much for your sober mind!”

    I have read a lot of articles posted on your web site for almost a year now (I have also contributed my shate overtime), and I have also been closely following the views posted in response to many articles over that period of time, and I had concluded that, Abugida seems to conduct a forum full of viberant discussions with many differing views. And, that is what attracted me to your web site in the first place. Because, Democracy can only be advanced only when someone is encouraged and heard when his or her heartfelt honest argument is aired, and is not expected to be in-line with a presuposed point of view. If that is the case, it would be like hearing the sound of your echoes; Which beats the point of having a discussion forum in the first place.

    So, I did not expect a selective exclusion of views from Abugida, unless, it is deemed that the comment has a malicous intent in distorting the truth about our country or what your web site it trying to advance. I am not going to guess the criterion by which you judge the values of submitted views. Views of the participants, like me for example, that read the posted article, criticaly analyze it, and think intellegibly as to how to enrich the discussion before submitting what we are going to post.

    I think all participants need to be exposed to what is being said by others in order to have a full understanding of the article from eveyone’s point of view. So, I do not expect from your web site a random sensorship of someone’s take on the discussed article, based on, what I think to be flimsy criteria.

    I hope you will take the right course of action to correct this simple yet upseting error, and I asure you that will satify me and the others who think their point of view have been excluded from the forum for no other than unsatisfactory reasons.

    Thank You,

  9. teodros kiros
    | #9

    Aha is a brilliant reader of my articles. Unencumbered by ethnicity, since all my work is judged ethnically, but attracted to moral intelligence, Aha has done service to her/his conscience and gave my thinking the objective reading it deserves.

    Thanks Aha.

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