Ethiopia Faces Era Of One-Party Rule – Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa VOA

August 18th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia’s 2010 election all but wiped out the country’s once vibrant political opposition. This means that Ethiopia faces the prospect of one-party rule for the foreseeable future. (more…)

Ethiopia’s 2010 election all but wiped out the country’s once vibrant political opposition. This means that Ethiopia faces the prospect of one-party rule for the foreseeable future.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi categorically rejects characterizations of Ethiopia as a one-party state. Speaking to reporters last week, he likened the Horn of Africa nation to Japan or Botswana, where opposition groups operate, but one party dominates the political landscape.

“Ethiopia is not moving towards a single-party system,” said Zenawi. “It can, with some credence, be said that it is a dominant party system, but there is a fundamental distinction between a dominant party system and a single-party system. The democratic system in Japan has been a dominant party system for half a century, but it has not been a single-party system.”

Opposition parties do operate in Ethiopia. There were more than 160 opposition members from half a dozen parties in the last parliament. For last May’s elections, many opposition groups banded together to form Medrek, or the Forum, in hopes of mounting a strong challenge to Mr. Meles’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.

Other Parties Effectively Marginalized

But in an election criticized by observers for lack of transparency and failure to live up to international commitments, Medrek was swept out of parliament. Even though Medrek candidates received about 30 percent of the vote nationwide, they won only one seat in the 547 seat chamber, finishing second in almost every one of the “first past the post” contests. The EPRDF and its allies won 545.

Medrek’s leader, Gizachew Shiferaw, calls the election a sham that reveals the ruling party’s intention to stay in power at all costs. He rejects Mr. Meles’s comparison with Japan, and says Medrek is adopting a strategy of peaceful struggle similar to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

“We are going to challenge the EPRDF,” said Gizachew. “The Forum exists to change the oppressive political environment, and that will be our political agenda. This is a peaceful struggle. One has to learn the struggle instituted in South Africa. It may take time, but we think we are on the right road.”

Jailed Leader Becomes Symbol

Gizachew likens Ethiopia’s jailed opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa, to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela as a symbol of peaceful struggle.

Birtukan, a charismatic former judge, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of provoking demonstrations protesting the EPRDF’s victory in the last national elections in 2005. The United States and human rights groups list her as a political prisoner. Gizachew says greater international pressure is needed to win her freedom.

“Birtukan has become a national as well as international political figure, and I don’t think you can simply lock (her) up in a prison and allow her to stay there. Because now there is an international movement,” said Gizachew.

Prime Minister Meles, however, has been adamant in refusing to consider freeing Birtukan. He says her imprisonment is a judicial matter. At last week’s meeting with reporters, he recalled a recent speech in which he announced a package of measures aimed at reconciling differences with political opponents.

“I’m sure you remember me telling you releasing Birtukan was not part of the package,” said Meles. “It was not part of the package then, it is not part of the package now, and it will not be part of the package tomorrow. This is a purely legal issue, and it is between her and the law. No one can come between the two. No one. Not opposition parties, not our friends abroad.”

Defending the Opposition’s Defeat

Prime Minister Meles made no secret of his contempt for Medrek, suggesting its members oppose Ethiopia’s constitution. Without mentioning Medrek by name, he called the defeat of such groups “a step toward stability.”

“The 2010 elections have prepared the ground for a stable democracy in Ethiopia,” said Meles. “Only those countries that have succeeded in marginalizing anti-constitutional forces by democratic means, only by marginalizing them by democratic means, have countries been able to establish stable democracies.”

A moment later, the prime minister seemed to suggest he was referring to Medrek, saying there was no place for the group in a planned dialogue with opposition parties on the country’s future.

“We have tried to engage the opposition,” said Meles. “I have talked to the leaders of the opposition, other than that of Medrek and the All Ethiopia something movement. Those that are prepared to engage with us, I have already talked to them.”

Election Review Report is Delayed

With the 2010 election in the history books, the only detail remaining is the verdict of a European observer mission on the conduct of the vote. A preliminary report issued immediately after the election questioned the fairness of the process, but a final draft expected in July has been delayed without explanation.

Prime Minister Meles, however, dismissed the EU report in advance. “I don’t know even if the European report is late or not. I’ve not really been interested in the report. We have seen a glimmer of what it might look like, and what we have seen is bad enough, and so we are not interested any more in the full package as it were.”

The next national election is still five years away, but both winners and losers in the 2010 vote are looking ahead to a generational shift. An EPRDF congress next month is expected to endorse a host of fresh faces in what Mr. Meles describes as a “comprehensive reorganization of government.”

The Ethiopian leader previously said he would retire in 2015, when his next term in office expires. By then he will have been in power nearly a quarter of a century.

  1. Abebe Belaye, PHD SE, PE
    | #1

    Please fill the list of Weyane Ambassadors and their ethnic origin
    Tigraye Ruling Ethiopia (6% VS. 94%)

    Seyoum Mesfin – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Weyane – Tigre
    Mr. Tesfaye Yilma, Chargé d’Affaires a.i of the Embassy Washington DC- Tigre
    Dina mufti sid (fictitious Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Weyanian Ambassador to the Scandinavian Countries) Mr. Goitom Tsehaye – 1st. Secretary (Real Ambassador)- Tigre
    Berhanu Kebede Weyanian Ambassador to the United Kingdom- Tigre
    Ato Mogus Dejene Molla – Charge d’ Affaires a.i. Weyanian Embassy in Greece

    Fesseha Asghedom Tessema The Embassy of Weyane a – Israel _Tigre
    Berhane Gebre-Christos Weyanian Embassy in Belgium-Tigre
    Mrs. Lulit Zewdie, Counselor & Charge d’Affaires Weyanian Embassy in Austria-Tigre
    Fisseha Yimer – Weyanian Embassy in Switzerland- Tigre
    Weyanian Consul-General in Australia
    Weyanian Embassy People’s Republic of China
    Weyanian Embassy India
    Weyanian Embassy Canada
    Weyanian Embassy in Japan

  2. BBX
    | #2

    Shame on you zenawi and your days are numbered. I promise you that you are not going to stay five more years and you will be charged in the International Criminal court for crimes aganist humanity.

  3. gobena
    | #3

    If the other are not Tigreans they are more Tigreans than the Tigre’s.

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    የምዪ ሚኒሊክ እቲጊ ጣይቱ ቢት: 19 አመት አንተ ብትኖርበት :
    አልጋው በሰበሰ የተቀመጥቅበት : ፈራሹ ቀረና ጫት የምትቅምበት:
    ምንጣፉ ሻገተ ያቀረሸህበት: ማእዱ ከረፋ ደም ያፈሰሰክበት
    ከ እነ ዘር ማንዘርህ ተዘፍዝፈህበት: ግቢውቀዘቀዘ ፍርሀት ነገሶበት::

    አጋዚ ዞር በል ግቢውን እናጽዳ: የደደቢት ባንዳ ተጠርጎ እንዲወጣ:

    ቆሻሻ አውጡ ይባል ጥሩንባ ይነፋ: መጥረጊያ ሰብሰቡ እንዋስ አካፋ
    እጣን ይጨስበት ግማቱ እንዲጠፋ:
    ጉድጓድም ይቆፍር ቆሻሻ መቅበሪያ
    ውህው ትበክሎ እንዳይሆን ኮሊራ::

    ጽዳት ስትጨርሱ ይታጠብ እጃችሁ:የማይደን በሽታ እንዳይፍጥርባችሁ::

    ዘረኛ :ቅጥረኛ :ለማኝ አሳፋሪ :
    ደ ሞ መለስ ብሎ ብርቱዪን አሳሪ::

    ምቀኛ: ወራዳ ውሸታም ባለጊ:
    አስቀያሚ ጉቶ እንክርዳድ ነህ ዋልጊ::
    ባንዳ የባንዳ ልጅ: ሐግር ሻጭ ወንበዼ:
    አምላኪን ላመስግን ከ እንደ አንተ አይነት ፋሽስት አለመዎለዴ::

  5. hailuy
    | #5

    The woyane, right from their conception, do not have an Ethiopian agenda. They set out to liberate Tigrai from Ethiopian as Tigrai people liberation front, TPLF. They were formed in the image of EPLF and by EPLF to fght on a single issue.; the liberation of tigrai.

    Some how, by coincidence of events, outside the control of the rest of the Ethiopian people, the woyane ended up MARCHING to Addis Abeba.

    To the woyane, it was an open house they found when they marched to Addis Abeba, with no body responsible for the affairs of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Those responsible have fled , leaving the country helpless and vulnerable to woyane occupation. The woyane do not believe they have anything to do with Ethipians and did not have any agenda in the interest of Ethiopia from the start AND AS SOON AS THEY TOOK CONTROL OF THE CAPITAL, they disarmed the Ethiopian military, and replaced them with their ‘tegadalay’ to intimidate and make the people submissive to their occupation.

    That is why Ethiopia is in the state it is today under the woyane. True to their hatred of Ethiopia and Ethiopianism they have pillaged and ravaged the country, taken the loot for themselves and their kits and rule over the people in the style of mercenaries.

    the government positions, diplomatic positions to serve in foreign countries, the military, the economy and every aspect of life in Ethiopia is occupied by the woyane and their kits and keith. they do not have the merit or qualification to be where they are. simply because they support the woyane, they are allowed to have positions and authority.

    Having established control of the country, the woyane’s first priority was to braek up the countru into ethnic enclaves to pave the way for their divide and rule, in the same way as Mussollini did inthe 2nd world war.
    The woyane leaders insulted the Ethiopian tri-colour as a piece of rag and said that Ethipia was afiction that was created in the last 100 years. The woyane forced people to settle in ethnic homelands, leaving the places they grew up and lived for generations. They deliberately incited ethnic tensions and violence and many people died and were displaced.

    First they targeted the Amhara as the main enemey and through the ethnic hatred they incited many hundreds of thousands were slaughtered. They pretended that the other ethnicities were victims of the amhara and were befriended initially.
    Once they finished with the Amhara they turned againt the oromo, the Afar, the Guraghe, and have now persecuted every ethnic group in Ethiopia in turn. Thousands of oromos now languish in prison. The oromos who turned against the amhara incited by the woyane now face their fate under the woyane. the same is true for the afar, the somali, the anuak, etc etc.
    There is no one in Ethiopia not affected by what the woyane have done
    woyane is intent on getting an end to Ethiopia and its place in the history of the world.
    There is no one in Ethiopia not affected by what the woyane have done.

  6. Meahri Berhe
    | #6

    It is totally wrong to describe the fascist and racist rule in Ethiopia as moving in the direction of one party rule. It is a one man fascist rule since the TPLF=Meles since the TPLF is his private property and machinery for controlling the populace. The other elements in the TPLF are simple and obedient tools to follow and execute the orders of their ethno-fascist boss, Zenawi. Almost all the Tigrayans worship Meles Zenawi and take his words for granted. They see him as irreplaceable and sacred leader enabling them to loot and steal in every part of the country. In their private talks the Tigrayans refer to Meles as the reedemer of the Tigrayan Nation which had been devastated by the
    cruel and oppressive previous Amhara rulers. They openly condemn others who oppose the ethno-fascist rule of Meles Zenawi as Amharas and haters of the Tigrayans and Tigray. Zenawi`s teachings which tell the Tigrayans that the Amharas are the sworn in enemies of the Tigrayans are wll implanted in the brains of the Tigrayans. In view of this, I was wondering when I saw some Amharas demonstrating with the Tigrayans in Washington DC a couple of weeks ago. I think these Amaharas kan be used as a typical example of the legendary OX which focused only on the lush (green grass) and fell into the well. The Tigrayans have developed their own saying ` Trusting the Amharas is like trying to catch clouds`. I believe that this Tigrayan saying has to do with the absence of clouds in the skies of Tigray. Clouds are very rare and their occurrence is unreliable. So any Tigrayan alliance or friendship with the Amharas is not reliable and trustworthy to the Tigrayans.
    Release Birtukan and all others political prisoners in Ethiopia!!

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